6 Champions League Group Stage Miracles To Inspire Arsenal Tonight


Arsenal were written off by many after losing their opening two Champions League games this season, but the Gunners enter their final group match against Olympiakos in Greece still very much alive in the competition.

A win by any scoreline greater than 1-0 or 2-1 will put them through at the Greek side’s expense, and as these sides have shown in the past, such last-gasp heroics have often been a feature of the Champions League.

 

Roma 0 Manchester City 2, 2014

A year ago, Manchester City entered the lion’s den in Rome and ended up with one of their greatest ever European results.

Only a win would do for Manuel Pellegrini’s men in the Italian capital and, with Bayern Munich doing them a favour elsewhere, a stunning strike on the hour from Samir Nasri and a late Pablo Zabaleta goal sealed victory – with a couple of fine stops from Joe Hart helping them through.

 

Juventus 1 Bayern Munich 4, 2009

 

It seems impossible to believe now, but the 2009/10 Champions League looked as though it was ending at the group stages for Louis van Gaal's Bayern Munich when David Trezeguet gave Juventus the lead on Matchday 6 in Turin, only for the German side to roar back.

Goalkeeper Hans-Jorg Butt equalised from the penalty spot (obviously), and then Ivica Olic, Mario Gomez and Anatoliy Tymoshchuk all found the net as Bayern knocked Juventus out. They would go on to reach the final.

 

Liverpool 3 Olympiakos 1, 2004

 

With Rivaldo leading Liverpool a merry dance all around Anfield and firing home a free-kick to give Olympiakos a 1-0 half-time lead, fans of the injury-hit Reds were thinking about life in the UEFA Cup come the turn of the year. Enter unsung heroes Florent Sinama-Pongolle and Neil Mellor.

Both came off the bench to score before, with time running out and Liverpool needing to win by two clear goals, up stepped skipper Steven Gerrard to spear home a late drive in front of an ecstatic Kop end.

Liverpool’s road to Istanbul had just opened up.

 

Feyenoord 2 Newcastle 3, 2002

They’d lost their first three games of the group phase to pretty much leave their campaign over before it had begun, but Sir Bobby Robson’s Newcastle impressively fought back to lead 2-0 at Feyenoord through Craig Bellamy and Hugo Viana on a must-win night.

Mariano Bombarda and Anthony Lurling then closed a previously open door by bringing Feyenoord level before, with Dynamo Kiev losing at Juventus, Newcastle pipped them to second place thanks to Bellamy’s stoppage-time winner after he followed up a Kieron Dyer effort.

It was the first time a team had lost their first three group matches and still qualified.

 

Liverpool 2 Roma 0, 2002

 

Back in the days when there was a second group phase, Liverpool looked to be crashing out of it following a winless first five games in a section including Barcelona, Roma and Galatasaray.

It all meant that the Reds had to win by two clear goals on the final night against the Romans at Anfield, and with Gerard Houllier returning to the dugout five months after life-saving heart surgery, Jari Litmanen gave them the lead with an early penalty.

Then, just after the hour mark, Emile Heskey rose to head home a Danny Murphy free-kick to send the Reds through and Fabio Capello’s side out.

 

AC Milan 1 Rosenborg 2, 1996

 

Milan only needed a point at the San Siro to see off the unfancied Rosenborg, and having beaten them 4-1 in Norway earlier in the group then that point looked to be the very least they’d pick up. 

However, they soon fell behind to a Harald Brattbakk effort which stunned the home fans, and after normality was restored with Christoph Dugarry’s leveller, Vegard Heggem – he of future Liverpool fame – would pop up with the winner 20 minutes from time to send the Norwegians through and dump Milan out just two years after they’d last won the competition. 

 

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