Five of sport's greatest comebacks

Ryan Crotty crosses for a match-winning try against Ireland. Photo / Getty Images
Ryan Crotty crosses for a match-winning try against Ireland. Photo / Getty Images

New Zealand produced a miraculous comeback in Wellington, overcoming a 14 point deficit midway through the second half to beat South Africa 24-21 in the rugby sevens final. We look at five other occasions from the world of sport, where apparently certain defeat was not certain at all.

Liverpool v AC Milan, 2005 Champions League final (Football)

Considering the occasion, this is hard to beat as a football's finest comeback. Liverpool were being outclassed and were down 0 - 3 at halftime in Istanbul. Inspired by Steven Gerrard, they scored three goals in six minutes early in the second half and won the penalty shootout before a 70,000 crowd. Milan players were said to have thrown their losers' medals away. Captain Paolo Maldini said later: "That was one of the best finals I ever played in. We played really well, much better than Liverpool, and we really deserved to win much more than them. But that's football."

All Blacks v Ireland, 2013 end-of-year-tour (Rugby)

The All Blacks, who have never lost to Ireland, were gunning for a record 14-test unbeaten season in their final assignment.

But they found themselves down 0 - 19 towards the end of the first quarter in Dublin. With time up, they still trailed by five but constructed an extraordinary 60m try - finished by replacement Ryan Crotty - built on composure and understated skill. With the scores at 22-all, Aaron Cruden's first sideline conversion attempt missed but he got another shot, thanks to an early Irish charge, and nailed it. Ireland had chances to close the game out, but lacked the killer touch. Coach Steve Hansen said: ""We survived a s--- storm. Our heart-monitors were going through the roof."

Ryan Crotty crosses for a match-winning try against Ireland. Photo / Getty Images
Ryan Crotty crosses for a match-winning try against Ireland. Photo / Getty Images



Kiwi, 1983 Melbourne Cup (Horse Racing)

The bargain basement buy, ridden by young Jimmy Cassidy, was completely out of the reckoning with 500 metres to go in the great race. But Kiwi rocketed from last to first, winning by over a length. Cassidy told the Telegraph many years later: "The thing about the Melbourne Cup is there's 24 runners, but there's really only five in the finish. So you've only got to get around 15 slow ones ... he give 'em all a start and just kicked their butts."

Buffalo Bills v Houston Oilers, 1993 AFC playoff (American football)

An amazing part of the Bills 1990s run, when they made four Super Bowls and lost the lot. Not only did the Bills mount what is still the biggest comeback in the NFL, but they did so without injured star quarterback Jim Kelly. The Oilers had thrashed Buffalo in the final game of the regular season, and were leading this playoff by 32 points early in the third quarter. Backup quarterback Frank Reich engineered an amazing reversal of fortunes, the Bills winning 41 - 38 in overtime. Coach Marv Levy has said: "70,000 people were at that game. I've already met 400,000 of them."

Penrith v Warriors 2009, NRL (League)

The Panthers should have been goners trailing by 26 points with 25 minutes remaining, before mounting a remarkable rearguard action to draw the match 32-all after a golden point stalemate. In terms of a scoring burst to avoid defeat, this is probably the NRL's best comeback and a symbol of the Warriors legendary ability to clock off during games. The Panthers were on the wrong end of the NRL's biggest comeback, when the Cowboys overturned a 26 point margin in 1998.

- NZ Herald

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