Greatest comeback in 2nd leg match

In sports (particularly football), the knockout stage has a contest between two teams which comprises two matches or “legs”, with each team as the home team in one leg. The winning team is usually determined by aggregate score, the sum of the scores of the two legs.

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This question was a subject of much interest following Barcelona’s 4-0 hammering at PSG in the Round of 16 stage of the Champions League in February 2017. While this question looks for the greatest comeback across all competitions, I focused my research on European competitions alone and it looked like Barcelona had some inspiring examples to emulate (although one of them is sure to irk the Barca faithful).

The largest margin of loss in the first leg appears to be 4 goals in Europe and it has been overturned in the second leg on two occasions.

  • Partizan Belgrade vs QPR, 1984-85 UEFA Cup Second Round (2-6, 4-0)

    In the first leg, QPR raced to a 4 goal advantage when they hammered 6 past Partizan in the home leg. In the second leg, their fortunes turned in Belgrade where Partizan scored 4 goals and progressed on the away goals rule.

  • Real Madrid vs Borussia Mönchengladbach, 1985-86 UEFA Cup Third Round (1-5, 4-0)

    In the first leg, Real were humbled in Germany falling behind by four goals. In the second leg at Madrid, Real scored 4 past Mönchengladbach, winning the tie courtesy of their solitary away goal.

  • And now FC Barcelona vs Paris SG, 2016-17 Champions League Round of 16 (0-4, 6-1)

    FC Barcelona started the turnaround from the 4-0 drubbing quickly, scoring in the 3rd minute, and making it 3-0 in the 50th minute. However after PSG scored, and time ticked away, it looked likely lost. Barcelona needed three goals to advance (two goals would have tied them on aggregate, but PSG would have advanced due to their one away goal). But three goals in the 88th, 90+1 and 90+6 minutes completed the historic comeback, appearing to become the first team in the Champions League era to overcome 4 goals. Here is the match report of this historic comeback.

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