Paris Saint-Germain registered one of European football’s great comebacks on Wednesday night, after salvaging their Champions League status from the brink against Atalanta.
The plucky Italian underdogs led the tie courtesy of Mario Pasalic’s first-half strike, and looked all set to haul their slender 1-0 margin over the line.
But the Parisians found their groove in the dying moments, stringing together slick passages of play to produce two goals and break the hearts of Gian Piero Gasperini’s side.
Two goals arrived in just a three-minute onslaught, yet how does this match up against the great results of years gone by, and was it faster than Manchester United’s exploits in the 1999 final? Sportsmail investigates…
Like PSG, United were staring defeat down the barrel. Except this time the stakes were much higher.
United found themselves on the biggest stage of them all, the grand final of European football’s premier competition.
Also similar to PSG, the Red Devils simply could not overturn an early goal from the first period, notched by Bayern’s Mario Basler in just the sixth minute.
The final moments ticked by and fans braced for the worst, allowing salty tears to begin to well in the corners of eyes. And then the impossible happened.
With Sir Alex Ferguson glaring on from the touchline, United rose from the ashes and used injury time as a smash and grab mission.
Like PSG, United forced matters into their own hands, and they did indeed manage to do it even faster.
Just two minutes were needed for Ferguson’s men, as Teddy Sheringham left Bayern shell-shocked with a 91st-minute equaliser, before the now manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer inflicted the killer blow moments later by producing a 93rd-minute winner.
Here was another case where one team looked a certainty to depart the competition.
Monaco had been soundly beaten 4-2 at the Bernabeu during the first leg and, although showing their scoring capabilities, were as good as written off.
Magic moments are all too common in the Champions League, however, and Monaco would shock the world… even after conceding first and staring at a 5-2 aggregate scoreline.
Ludovic Guily struck a brace, while Fernando Morientes (who was on loan with Monaco from Real Madrid) also found the back of the net.
Somehow Monaco had pulled it back to 5-5 against one of Europe’s most formidable giants, and progressed on away goals.
What also may be a good omen for PSG – Monaco used the inspiration drawn from this tie to surge straight to the final.
There is something about the big European nights when a team gets the bit between their teeth.
Liverpool entered this match knowing a two-goal winning margin was needed, or else it was curtains.
An early goal from the visitors spelled doom. Liverpool were all but out.
But the European gods hadn’t finished with their influencing, and from somewhere the Reds found the answer.
Florent Sinama Pongolle and Neil Mellor struck to bring Liverpool to within an inch of salvation, only for captain Steven Gerrard to rattle the ball home at the Kop end in the late stages.
Greek hearts broken, Liverpool progress. Again, this served as a starting point to jolt a team all the way to the final two.
Voted the greatest comeback in European football history, this match had it all.
On paper, Liverpool had no right to compete against the Milan side they faced.
The Italians boasted a bonafide world class star in every single position, whereas the Reds looked to have a mismatched side, put together under a new manager in Rafael Benitez who was only just completing his first season.
Liverpool all but imploded in the first half, after conceding the fastest goal in Champions League history when Paulo Maldini scored inside a single minute.
But divine intervention would follow.
A six-minute spell in the second half would yield all three goals Liverpool needed to draw level. Milan were dumbstruck.
Outstanding goalkeeping from Jerzey Dudek in the dying moments, which still appears inexplicable to this day, kept Liverpool in the tie.
They would win on penalties, with Dudek providing the match-winning save to deny the then best striker in European football, Andriy Shevchenko, from 12 yards.
With this showpiece final having remained goalless until just after the 80th minute mark, it’s fair to say the art of the comeback wasn’t really on anybody’s minds.
Both teams spent most of the match battering each other into a stalemate, with added time looking a certainty.
Late inspiration from Bayern, perhaps due to playing inside their own stadium, saw a collective gasp as Thomas Muller found the back of the net on 83 minutes.
Chelsea were rocked, and it looked as though another European final would slip through their grasp.
But in came the man for the big occasion. Leaping like a salmon to meet a late corner, Didier Drogba powered a header past Manuel Neuer, which was enough to seal extra-time.
Penalties would decide the contest, with Chelsea’s comeback arriving courtesy of a 4-3 victory. Drogba, again, would be the man to finish matters.
A fixture that is to be forever etched in Tottenham Hotspur history.
If PSG thought they had left it late to defeat Atalanta, Spurs took this to the most extreme degree.
With a place in the final on the line, Mauricio Pochettino’s side looked as though they had done all they could to suppress the mercurial upstarts of the Ajax team – and failed.
The Dutch giants had won the first leg 1-0 in London, and scored twice inside 35 minutes in the return fixture in Amsterdam.
It was desolation for Spurs. Surely a case of no way back.
And then the chain of events set in motion, all deriving from an inspired streak by Lucas Moura.
Quick-fire goals in the 55th and 59th minute from the Brazilian started to ask the question, though Ajax dug in and took the tie to the very final seconds of stoppage time.
With 96 minutes on the clock, Moura would glide through the Ajax defence for the final time, evading challenges and slotting the ball home.
The victory, on away goals, has since been lauded as one of European football’s best ever matches, and arguably the greatest in Spurs’ modern history.
Just like Spurs – who they would eventually beat in the final – Liverpool had to scale the most daunting of mountains to get themselves a place in Madrid.
Nobody outside of Merseyside gave Liverpool a hope of overturning a 3-0 deficit against Barcelona, with a fully fit and in-form Lionel Messi in the side.
But the goals came, and continued to pour. A brace each from Georgino Wijnaldum and Divock Origi – the latter including THAT famous quickly taken corner goal – saw Liverpool enter dreamland.
It was a victory fit for progressing to the final. Such was the grandeur of the win, and the relief it brought, Liverpool took to Madrid feeling the trophy was already theirs, and duly succeeded.