UEFA Champions League match-day four round one is done and dusted. PSG and Bayern Munich become the first teams to reach the last 16 with two matches remaining. Manchester United will need one more point in the last two matches to confirm their place in knockout stages. Chelsea, Tottenham Hotspurs, and Liverpool still have a long way to go. Today, we want to take a look at some of the best Group stage escapes in Champions League recent history.
4. Arsenal- 2015/16
Arsene Wenger pulled a masterstroke by beating Bayern Munich 2-0 at home but a 5-1 defeat in Germany damaged their chances. The Frenchman was not giving up the fight just yet, he knew a win against Zagreb at home and Olympiacos away will be enough to qualify because it was obvious that Guardiola was too proud to lose to the two teams. All came to pass and Wenger side reached the last 16.
3. FC Porto-2003/04
We came to know who Jose Mourinho was in 2003/04 season that time coaching Portuguese giants FC Porto. A single point after two games was clearly a disastrous position for ‘The Special One’ especially after a heavy defeat to Real Madrid at home in their second game.
However, the young Mourinho was not ready to see his career go up in smoke. He collected a valuable point at Santiago Bernabeu and won the rest of the games to qualify for the last 16 with 10 points.
He destroyed Sir Alex Ferguson side Manchester United in the knockout stage and we all remember that celebration. Porto went on to win the Champions League that season.
2. Arsenal- 2003/04
In 2003-2004 Arsenal lost their first two group games. Believe it or not, Inter Milan demolished the ‘Invincible’ 3-0 at Highbury. However, their European season turned 360 degrees in their fourth game thanks to Ashley Cole 88th winner against Dynamo Kyiv.
The Gunners went on to win 5-1 at San Siro against Inter with club legend Thierry Henry scoring a brace. They thrashed Lokomotiv Moscow 2-0 at home to complete the comeback and progress as group winners.
1. Newcastle United 2002/03
If Arsenal 2003/04 and 2015/16 escapes were miraculous, then we need a new name to describe Newcastle United qualification in 2002/03 season. They became the very first team to lose their first three games (Dynamo Kyiv, Feyenoord, and Juventus) in the group stage but still qualify to the last 16.
The historical year for the Magpies who were then managed by Sir Bobby Robson started when Juventus World Class keeper Gianluigi Buffon turned Andy Griffin cross-cum-shot into his own net. They won the match and went on to collect all the points against Dynamo Kyiv and Feyenoord.