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Five of the greatest English comebacks

By | 8th March 2010

Aston Villa made in to the semi-finals of the FA Cup after a great second half comeback against Reading on Sunday. At half-time Martin O’Neill’s men were 2-0 down to the team from the Championship and looked like they were heading out of the competition. Whatever was said during the break must have made a difference, though, as Villa scored four second half goals without reply to make it to the last four.

Today we take a look at some other half-time team talks which must have made all the difference, as teams who were heading nowhere ended up the much happier side at the end of the day.

Tottenham 3-4 Manchester City

Ten-man Manchester City pulled off an amazing FA Cup comeback to earn a fifth round tie at Manchester United back in 2004. Tottenham led 3-0 at half-time after Ledley King , Robbie Keane, and Christian Ziege all scored in the first 45 minutes. City’s Joey Barton was sent off for a second booking when the score was 3-0 but Sylvain Distin, Paul Bosvelt, and Shaun Wright-Phillips leveled the tie before Jonathan Macken headed a late winner.Kevin Keegan said: “They’ll talk about this game long after we’ve all gone”. We are still talking about it now, Kev.

Tottenham 3-5 Manchester United

United staged a magnificent comeback to overwhelm Tottenham at White Hart Lane. Spurs had been 3-0 up at half time after outplaying their opponents. Debutant Dean Richards, Les Ferdinand, and Christian Ziege scored in the first half but goals from Andy Cole, Laurent Blanc, Ruud van Nistelrooy, Juan Sebastian Veron, and David Beckham in the last 45 minutes sealed what looked like an unlikely victory at half time.

AC Milan 3-3 Liverpool (Liverpool 3-2 on penalties)

This is perhaps the most famous of second half comebacks as Liverpool came from three goals down in the 2005 Champions League final to win their fifth European Cup. Paolo Maldini and a double from Hernan Crespo had given the team from Italy the advantage at half time but a Steven Gerrard inspired Liverpool scored three goals in seven minutes to bring the tie level. The Reds went on to win the penalty shootout with Andriy Shevchenko missing the crucial kick. Steven Gerrard called the game “the best feeling ever,” but at half time that feeling looked lost to say the least.

Peterborough 4 - 4 Cardiff

A stunning second half from Peterborough grabbed a share of the points as Cardiff surrendered a 4-0 half time lead to draw 4-4. Joe Ledley, twice, Jay Bothroyd, and Peter Whittingham had looked to have sealed the points for the team from Wales by half time. But substitute Josh Simpson, Charlie Lee, and George Boyd’s late goal were followed by Simpson’s 92nd-minute leveler. Peterborough boss Mark Cooper said, “Our first-half performance was completely unacceptable.” Must have been your words that turned it around, eh Mark!

Charlton 7-6 Huddersfield

The comeback to end all football comebacks took place in December 1967. Huddersfield were 5-1 up and down to 10 men after more than an hour’s play before Johnny Summers hits an astonishing five goals to make it 6-5 to Charlton. John Hewie’s own goal leveled the scores before John Ryan grabbed the winner in the dying seconds. Simply amazing!

Will these comeback’s ever be beaten? Who knows – but it does prove that even if you are down in the first half, there’s still 45 minutes left to get something out of the match!

What’s your favorite second half comeback? Have your say in the comments section below!

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