Five great sporting comebacks

Jimmy Spithill and Oracle Team USA need seven more wins to complete one of the greatest comebacks in sport. Photo / Brett Phibbs
Jimmy Spithill and Oracle Team USA need seven more wins to complete one of the greatest comebacks in sport. Photo / Brett Phibbs

Jimmy Spithill reckons they're not done but if his Oracle win eight races on the trot to retain the America's Cup, it will sit alongside some of the great sporting comebacks

1 Liverpool FC, 2005
Down 0-3 to AC Milan in the Champions League final in Istanbul, Liverpool weren't just being beaten, they were being embarrassed in front of thousands at the ground and millions in front of telly. Defender Jamie Carragher would admit that he just wanted the game over as soon as possible and with the least amount of further damage. Instead, in six crazy second-half minutes, Liverpool put three goals past one of the best defences
assembled in soccer. They would then go on to win the penalty shootout.

2 Canterbury Bulldogs, 1998
This classic West Sydney derby in the NRL preliminary final had a nice slice of Kiwi.
The chances of Canterbury progressing to the grand final were somewhere between remote and hopeless when Parramatta led 18-2 with 10 minutes left. But the Bulldogs charged back with three back-to-back tries, the last to Kiwis centre Willie Talau requiring a sideline conversion from Daryl Halligan to take them to extra time.

Chook nailed it and the Bulldogs made no contest of extra time (in the days before golden point), winning 32-20.

3 England, 1981
This series would be crowned Botham's Ashes, and the events at Headingley were a big reason why. Australia batted first and declared nine down for 401, Ian Botham taking 6-95. The home side were then rolled for 174, Botham scoring 50. After, bookmakers had England at 500/1, tasty odds that Rod Marsh and Dennis Lillee availed themselves of (can you imagine that happening in this cynical day and age). Botham swatted an almighty 149 not out as England rattled on 356. Charged up by his teammate's stunning feat, Bob Willis then mopped up Australia for 111, sealing a famous, utterly improbable 18-run win.

4 Henri Cochet, 1927
Down two sets and 1-5 to Big Bill Tilden, Cochet was about to make a rapid exit from Wimbledon at the semifinal stage. Instead, Cochet, after deciding to take the ball earlier and earlier, clawed his way back and won 2-6, 4-6, 7-5, 6-4, 6-3. F.R. Burrow, a Wimbledon referee, said the crowd was "almost too spellbound to applaud''. Cochet would save six match points in his final victory over compatriot Jean Borotra.

5 Boston Red Sox, 2004
The Sox didn't beat the Yankees, the Curse of the Bambino (Babe Ruth) saw to that. So when New York took a 3-0 lead in their American League Championship Series, another sob story was all but written. Boston came from behind to win the next two matches in extra innings at home, which was remarkable enough, but then went to Yankee Stadium to win games six and seven. The curse was slayed.

- NZ Herald

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