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5 best UEFA Champions League Round of 16 comebacks of the 21st century

Chelsea vs Napoli
Chelsea vs Napoli
Modified 27 Feb 2020

The UEFA Champions League 2019/20 knockout stage is underway, with all sixteen teams playing their first legs. The round threw some surprising results our way, with both finalists from last year's competition, Liverpool and Tottenham, losing to Atletico Madrid and RB Leipzig respectively.

Debutants Atalanta put one foot into the quarterfinals by thrashing Valencia on their home turf. Elsewhere, Dortmund new boy Erling Haaland continued his fine run in this season's tournament, scoring twice as his side beat Paris Saint Germain. Furthermore, Bayern Munich completed a routine win over Chelsea while Olympique Lyon shocked Cristiano Ronaldo and Co by registering a one-nil win.

While certain sides will take an advantage to the return leg three weeks from now, they must be wary of surprises that the competition may throw at them. As has been evident in the past, no result is secure until at least one hundred and eighty minutes are played. Several teams have been able to turn around first-leg deficits to win the tie previously and some did it in a more emphatic fashion than others. We take a look at five such sides who completed stunning turnarounds in this particular round since the turn of the century.

5. Manchester United vs PSG (First Leg: 0-2; Second Leg: 3-1)

Paris Saint-Germain v Manchester United - UEFA Champions League Round of 16: Second Leg
Paris Saint-Germain v Manchester United - UEFA Champions League Round of 16: Second Leg

When Manchester United sacked Jose Mourinho in December 2018, their season was in disarray. The Red Devils were positioned mid-table in the league and had been knocked out of the EFL Cup. Their progress into the round of 16 of the UEFA Champions League was secured, although they were facing a tough tie against Paris Saint Germain with many supporters prematurely throwing in the towel.

Amidst much scepticism, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer took the reigns of the first team on an interim basis, with the club deciding to put their faith in the legendary striker despite his poor managerial record. Solskjaer, to his credit, took everyone by surprise and went on to win his first eight matches in charge across all competitions.

The Norwegian's winning streak was broken by none other than PSG, who beat the Red Devils two-nil in the first leg of their round of 16 tie at Old Trafford. Presnel Kimpembe and Kylian Mbappe had come up with the goals in the second half before the home side had Paul Pogba sent off later in the game, making their return leg objective all the more difficult.

However, what Manchester United did three weeks later at Parc de Princes ended up in history books. Romelu Lukaku scored either side of a Juan Bernat strike to make it two-one to the Red Devils. Marcus Rashford scored United's third of the night deep into second-half stoppage time, when he converted a spot-kick, sending the away supporters into delirium.

Manchester United became the first team in the history of the competition to advance after losing the first leg at home by two goals and Solskjaer was handed the permanent job a month later.

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Published 27 Feb 2020, 19:04 IST
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