A look at the greatest comebacks in sporting history

By Sports Desk May 19, 2023

Sheffield Wednesday’s miraculous comeback in the Sky Bet League One play-off semi-final against Peterborough, where they overturned a 4-0 first-leg deficit, was a reminder that anything can happen in sport.

Here, the PA news agency takes a look at some of the best comebacks in sport.

Botham’s Ashes

England’s plight against Australia in the second Ashes Test in 1981 was so bad they had checked out of their hotel early ahead of an anticipated defeat. Enter Ian Botham. With his side 41 for four when following on, Botham played one of the great Test innings, smashing 149 to make Australia bat again and set an albeit modest target of 130. Enter Bob Willis. The fast bowler produced the spell of his lifetime, decimating the Australian batting order in taking eight wickets for 43 runs to seal a famous 18-run victory. Instead of being 2-0 down in the series, England went on to win 3-1.

Miracle of Medinah

It seemed impossible that the Ryder Cup would be returning home with Europe going into the final day of the bi-annual tournament in 2012. The United States had dominated the opening two days on their home soil of Medinah in Chicago, opening up a 10-4 lead in the race to 14.5 ahead of Sunday’s singles. But Spanish captain Jose Maria Olazabal channelled the spirit of his mentor Seve Ballesteros and Europe produced a sea of blue on the leaderboard, with Martin Kaymer sealing the most unlikely of victories when he rolled home a 10-foot putt to claim a 14.5-13.5 victory.

Fury’s unlikely resurrection

When Tyson Fury was on the end of a vicious left hook from Deontay Wilder in the 12th round of their WBC heavyweight clash in Las Vegas it looked like goodnight for the British fighter. Laying prone on the canvas he appeared out cold until midway through the referee’s count, when he came back to life, shot up and was somehow able to carry on. Fury thought he had earlier done enough to be awarded a points victory, but the judges controversially scored it a draw. However Fury dominated the two subsequent rematches and still retains the WBC belt.

Miracle of Instanbul

https://twitter.com/ChampionsLeague/status/113220969099215667
Liverpool’s first European Cup final in 21 years and first in the Champions League era looked like it was going to be a damp squib as AC Milan raced into a 3-0 half-time lead thanks to goals from Paolo Maldini and Hernan Crespo (2). But Steven Gerrard inspired the monumental second-half comeback, with Liverpool scoring three times in seven minutes as Vladimir Smicer and Xavi Alonso also bagged. Goalkeeper Jerzy Dudek was the hero in the penalty shoot-out, saving from Andrea Pirlo and Andrei Shevchenko to claim a miraculous victory for Rafael Benitez’s side.

Brady’s Brunch

Even Tom Brady must have questioned whether his New England Patriots side had any chance of winning the 2017 Superbowl when they trailed the Atlanta Falcons 28-3 in the third quarter. But the NFL great cemented his position as the best quarterback of all time by inspiring his side to a miraculous 34-28 victory in overtime. It was the first Supervowl to be decided in an additional period and was also the largest comeback in the showpiece match.

Brecel back from the brink

Luca Brecel beat Ronnie O’Sullivan in this year’s World Snooker Championship quarter-final but the Belgian’s run looked like coming to an end in the semis against Si Jiahui when the Chinese debutant powered into a 14-5 lead in the race to 17. What happened next was the greatest comeback in Crucible history as Brecel won 11 successive frames, eventually claiming a remarkable 17-15 victory. He ensured that his fortnight in Sheffield ended in glory, beating Mark Selby in the final to win a first world title.

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    Houston Dynamo – 32%

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