10 late Champions League Goals That Made History

Published 07/16/2015, 12:59 PM EDT

A game of football is never over until the final whistle has been blown by the referee. There have been so many incidents in which the supporters leave the stadium early to beat the traffic, only to miss out on some fine last-minute goals. Whether its an equalizer or a winner, these kind of goals make us laugh, scream, shout or cry – and that’s what football is all about.


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Here we look at some of the greatest last-gasp goals in the Champions League. So, enjoy and relive these moments that defined matches and made history. 

10) Fernando Torres vs Barcelona, 2011-12 Semi-Finals, 2nd Leg


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Fernando Torres scored in stoppage time of the second leg of the 2011-12 Champions League semi-finals to send Chelsea through to the final. Barcelona were heavy favorites to win the tie, and the defending champions were looking to continue their dominance in club football. But a stubborn Chelsea side, defensively well organized by then interim manager Roberto di Matteo, ended Barcelona’s quest to win their third Champions league title in four years.

Though Chelsea visited Camp Nou with a 1-0 lead from the first leg, they were still not expected to win against the Catalan side. And the London side was put under immense pressure in the first half, as Barcelona raced to a 2-0 lead, and Chelsea were reduced to 10-men after their captain John Terry received a red card.

But Ramires’ beautiful chip over Victor Valdes at the stroke of half-time gave Chelsea the advantage on away goals. Barcelona pressed hard for a third, but Chelsea’s resilient defence was able to hold persistent Barca attacks. And in stoppage time, the £50 million man, Fernando Torres, scored the goal in the 92nd minute, which ended Barcelona’s hopes for another appearance in a Champions League final.

9) Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez vs Atletico Madrid, 2014-15 Quarter-Finals, 2nd Leg



Javier ‘Chicharito’ Hernandez scored the only goal over two legs against city rivals Atletico Madrid in the Champions League Quarter-Finals last season. When Atletico Madrid were drawn as the opponents of Real Madrid in the Quarter-Finals, every single Real fan was worried about the team’s future in the competition. The Madrid rivals had already played six derbies that season, before playing in the Champions League quarters. Atletico were unbeaten in all of the six derbies, winning four and drawing two of them. But Real Madrid arguably won the most important of them all.

The first leg ended in a tame 0-0 draw, as Real Madrid dominated most of the possession, and Atletico looked dangerous on the counter. The second leg was going in the same direction, as both the teams found it hard to break the opposition defence. But the match turned on its head when Atletico winger Arda Turan was sent-off with a quarter of the match still left to play. But as the match was heading towards extra-time, Chicharito produced the match winning moment for Real at the Bernabeu.

In the 88th minute of the match, Ronaldo made a run inside the box and was found by James Rodriguez. Ronaldo saw Chicharito in the middle of the box, and with the goalkeeper rushing towards him, Ronaldo passed the ball to him, and Chicharito fired his shot into the empty goal to win it for Real Madrid. Finally, Real had the last laugh in a season in which they were dominated by their city rivals.

8) Steven Gerrard vs Olympiakos, 2004-05 Group Stage


Steven Gerrard scored a spectacular 25-yard half-volley against Olympiakos in the group stages of the 2004-05 Champions League season. Liverpool entered their final game of the group phase knowing that they had to beat Olympiakos to reach the knockout round. But if the Greece side were to score, Liverpool would have to win by a difference of two goals. And that’s exactly what happened.

After Liverpool dominated most of the match, they conceded a free kick in a dangerous position. Brazilian legend Rivaldo struck a brilliant free-kick to give Olympiakos the lead in the 26th minute of the match. Liverpool now needed three goals without return to qualify through the group stages, and many signed them off. But two changes from manager Rafael Benitez made instant impacts on the match.

Substitute Florent Sinama Pongolle scored the equalizer from close range, and another substitute Niel Mellor gave them the lead with ten minutes remaining on the clock. That goal breathed new life and energy into Anfield, as fans now believed that Liverpool could achieve the impossible. And their then 24-year-old captain Steven Gerrard stepped up to the occasion.

Carragher found Mellor with an intelligent pass, who guided a header in the path of Gerrard, who struck a thunderous half volley into the corner of the Olympiakos net. With that goal, Liverpool ensured qualification through the group stages, and to the surprise of many people, went on to win the Champions League that season.

7) Francisco Costinha vs Manchester United, 2003-04 Round of 16, 2nd Leg


Costinha scored the equalizer at Old Trafford against Manchester United in the 90th minute of the 2004 Champions League Round of 16 second leg, which took Porto to the quarter-finals on aggregate. Porto defeated United 2-1 in the first leg in Portugal, but the Red Devils were still the favorites to win the tie. Surprisingly, Sir Alex Ferguson left Cristiano Ronaldo on the bench for the all important 2nd leg.

United were on the attack straight away, as they tried to find the opening goal and pressed Porto into their own half. After pure domination in the first half-hour of the match, United finally broke Porto’s defence, as Paul Scholes headed successfully at the near post. That goal gave United the advantage on away goals, as United pushed for a second in order to kill the tie.

But when it looked like United were heading into their eighth successive quarter-finals, Costinha came up with the goods for Porto. Benni McCarthy’s last minute free kick was saved by Tim Howard, who cleared the ball straight into Costinha’s path, leaving an empty goal to put the ball in. Costinha didn’t make any mistake as he finished calmly and knocked United out of the competition. Porto went on to win their second Champions League title that season.

6) Felipe Santana vs Malaga, 2012-13 Quarter-Finals, 2nd Leg



Felipe Santana scored the winner in the third and final minute of stoppage time to help Borussia Dortmund beat Malaga 3-2 in the Quarter-Finals of the Champions League In 2013. In the first leg in Spain, the match ended 0-0, with all to play for in the second leg.

The second leg started off well for Malaga, as they took the lead through Joaquin at the Signal Iduna Park. Dortmund’s Polish striker Robert Lewandowski equalized for them in the 40th minute through a wonderfully worked goal. Malaga took the lead once again through substitute Eliseu’s goal with seven minutes left to play.

Dortmund had to score two goals to win the tie, and therefore they increased the intensity of their play. But they had to wait till the 91st minute of the match to find the equalizer, scored by Marco Reus. But Dortmund still needed another goal to win, and Santana provided that one in the 93rd minute to give Dortmund the lead for the first time in the match. The Dortmund players and the crowd went wild into celebrations, much to the despair of Malaga players, who played very well over the two legs, and had one foot in the Champions League semi-finals.

5) Andres Iniesta vs Chelsea, 2008-09 Semi-Finals, 2nd Leg


Andres Iniesta scored a late equalizer against Chelsea in the 2009 Champions League Semi-Finals 2nd leg, which was enough to take Barcelona through to the final. After a goalless draw in the first leg, Chelsea seemed ready to progress to a second consecutive final.

Chelsea started the second leg well, scoring early with Michael Essien’s breath-taking goal in the ninth minute. Essien struck a wonderful volley with his left foot, which struck the underside of the bar and went over the line. Chelsea dominated most of the match after taking the lead, wasting many opportunities to kill the tie. Barcelona’s troubles were increased, as Eric Abidal was sent-off for a rash challenge on Nikolas Anelka.

The opportunities that Chelsea missed cost them in the end, when Lionel Messi passed the ball to Andres Iniesta on the edge of the box, who struck a pile-driver into the top corner of the net in the 93rd minute of the match. Stamford Bridge was silenced, as Iniesta’s goal was enough to take them into the final on away goals. Barcelona defeated Manchester United 2-0 in the final to win the Champions League.

4) Didier Drogba vs Bayern Munich, 2011-12 Final


Didier Drogba scored the equalizer in the 2012 final against Bayern Munich in the 88th minute to help Chelsea win their first ever Champions League title. Bayern Munich were playing their second final in three years, and this time at their home, the Allianz Arena. After losing to Inter Milan in 2010, Bayern were poised to make amends in front of their home fans, and after 83 minutes of completely one sided football, Bayern finally took the lead through Thomas Mueller’s header beating Petr Cech, who had been brilliant throughout the match.

It looked like Bayern had done just enough to win their fifth Champions League title, when Blues legend Drogba came to their rescue. Chelsea won their first corner of the match late in the 88th minute, and Drogba guided a bullet header past Manuel Neuer at the near post to level things in Germany. The match went into extra-time and Petr Cech denied Arjen Robben from the spot kick early on. After 120 minutes of play, the match had to be decided by penalties, with Drogba again in the spot-light.

Bayern had missed two of their five penalties, and Chelsea had missed one of their four. Drogba, who had already announced his departure from Chelsea after the season, stepped up to take the final penalty for Chelsea. He calmly slotted the ball home, sending Neuer the wrong way. And much to the delight of all Chelsea fans and owner Roman Abramovich, Drogba delivered the ultimate trophy, the Champions League, in his last match for Chelsea (though he later returned to Chelsea after two years).

3) Arjen Robben vs Borussia Dortmund, 2012-13 Final

The 2013 Champions League saw an all-German final between two fierce rivals, Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund. While Dortmund were in the final for the first time since 1997, Bayern were playing their third final in four years. The Bavarians were looking to end their miserable run in the elite competition’s finals after falling short on the previous two occasions.

Both the teams had their chances to take the lead in the first-half, but both Neuer and Weidenfeller were in top form as they kept out several one-on-one chances to keep their respective teams in the match. The breakthrough finally came through Bayern striker Mario Mandzukic, who was set up by Robben from a low cross from the left for a tap-in. Dortmund responded quickly as Marco Reus was fouled by Dante inside the penalty area, and Gundogan made no mistake from the resulting spot kick.

Bayern were looking more and more dangerous as the match progressed towards extra-time. But this time, they were not denied. Ribery superbly controlled a high-ball at the edge of the box, and laid it off for Robben, who took it all the way, beating Weidenfeller in the 89th minute for the winner. Wembley erupted into celebrations, as Robben’s late goal ensured that Bayern would be crowned champions for the fifth time in the Champions League history.

2) Sergio Ramos vs Atletico Madrid, 2013-14 Final

For the first time in history, the 2014 Champions League final featured two teams from the same city – Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid. While Atletico Madrid had already won La Liga, beating both Real and Barcelona to the title, the Los Blancos had already claimed the Copa del Rey title. Real were hoping to end their 12-year wait for La Decima, which had been an obsession for the club since their victory in the 2002 final. Atletico were playing in only their second final ever, since they lost to Bayern Munich in the 1974 final.

Real looked the better side in the early stages of the match, as Courtois brilliantly denied both Bale and Benzema. Diego Simeone’s move of playing the injured striker Diego Costa backfired, as he had to be substituted in the eight minute. But after all the troubles at the start, it was Atletico who took the lead through Diego Godin’s looping header over Casillas in the 36th minute, who came out of the goal initially to clear the ball.

Real Madrid tried hard to find an equalizer, but all efforts were in vain. Atletico looked all set to win their first ever Champions League title, as five minutes of stoppage time were added at the end of the 90. But the hero in the semi-finals for Madrid did it again in the 93rd minute of the match. Madrid won a corner which was taken by Luka Modric. Sergio Ramos leapt highest amongst all the players to head home a dramatic late equalizer, much to the agony of Atletico players and fans.

The match went into extra-time 1-1, and then goals from Gareth Bale, Marcelo and Cristiano Ronaldo, who became only the fourth player to score in two finals of the elite club competition, gave Real a 4-1 victory. The score-line looked like a rout, but that didn’t tell the whole story, as Ramos’ late goal was the most important one that gave them the ultimate glory, i.e. La Decima.

1) Ole Gunnar Solskjaer vs Bayern Munich, 1998-99 Final


Manchester United’s comeback against Bayern Munich in the 1999 final is arguably the best in the history of the Champions League. The title came on the day late Sir Matt Busby, who was the only Reds’ manager to win the European Cup 31 years ago, would have celebrated his 90th birthday.


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Bayern took the lead through Mario Basler’s 25-yard wonder-strike after five minutes from the start. Throughout the match, United threatened to equalize, but they failed to make any clear chances to score. On the other hand, Bayern came close to double their lead on several occasions, twice hitting the woodwork. Bayern defended desperately as match progressed towards the 90 minute mark. It all looked over for United as three minutes of stoppage time were added. But these three minutes turned out to be the craziest ones in football history.

Substitute Teddy Sheringham equalized in the 91st minute of the game, after United had won a corner. It looked like United had been saved by that goal, and the match was heading towards extra time – with the English fans relieved. But after two minutes, i.e. the last minute of added time, United struck again through another corner. Sheringham headed the ball straight into another substitute Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who guided the ball into the roof of the net.

From 1-0 down at 90, United struck twice in stoppage time to win their second ever Champions League title. Bayern had only themselves to blame as they had one hand on the trophy after leading in the final for 85 minutes. Sir Alex Ferguson, after the thrilling victory, said, “This is the greatest moment of my life.”


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Paritosh Gautam

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