For the second knockout round running Chelsea need to overturn a first-leg deficit at Stamford Bridge to advance in Europe. We have plenty of history of doing just that!
The Blues lost 2-0 at the Bernabeu last Wednesday, so a heroic comeback is required tonight if our Champions League dream is to remain alive this season.
Gratefully, there is past and very recent precedent of producing the goods in adversity. In the round of 16, we lost 1-0 in Germany to Borussia Dortmund but battled back at the Bridge to win 2-0 on the night and 2-1 on aggregate. Here are six other famous turnarounds we have conjured up on home soil, going back over 50 years…
Club Bruges – 1971
In the Cup Winners’ Cup in 1971, we had to come back from two goals down when we met Club Bruges in the quarter-finals.
Peter Houseman and Peter Osgood missed the first leg in Belgium through injury and suspension respectively, but they had a huge impact in the return game as Houseman pulled one back midway through the first half before Osgood levelled things up nine minutes from time to send the match to extra-time.
The King of Stamford Bridge struck again in the 114th minute to put us ahead for the first time in the tie before Tommy Baldwin rounded off a memorable 4-2 aggregate triumph. We marched on to lift European silverware for the first time with victory against Real Madrid in the final.
Club Bruges - 1995
After an absence of 23 years from Europe, Chelsea returned to the Cup Winners’ Cup in 1994/95 and there was a sense of déjà vu when we again faced Bruges in the last eight and required another comeback at the Bridge after we conceded a late winner in the first leg in Belgium.
But summoning the spirit of 1971, Glenn Hoddle’s side levelled the aggregate score through Mark Stein. Paul Furlong then grabbed the winner when he fired home from the edge of the box on a swift counter-attack which he had started 20 seconds earlier by clearing the ball from his own six-yard box following a corner for the visitors.
Vicenza - 1998
We faced Vicenza in the Cup Winners’ Cup semi-finals but it looked like the Italian side were heading to the final when Pasquale Luiso’s strike after 32 minutes put them 2-0 up on aggregate, with the bonus of an away goal.
The Blues had to score three goals in under an hour, but we produced a stirring fightback. Gustavo Poyet fired home a quick response and Gianfranco Zola headed in a fine cross by Vialli early in the second half, before Mark Hughes controlled a massive clearance by Ed de Goey and found the net with a brilliant half-volley in the 76th minute to seal a memorable triumph.
Barcelona - 2005
In our third Champions League adventure, Chelsea trailed to Barcelona 2-1 from the first leg of what proved an all-time classic last-16 tie. Back at the Bridge, we quickly turned things around as goals by Eidur Gudjohnsen, Frank Lampard and Damien Duff in the opening 19 minutes put us in control with a 4-2 aggregate advantage.
The visitors recovered, however, with a brace by Ronaldinho before half-time giving them the edge on away goals. It made for an exhilarating second half as both sides created opportunities to win the tie, before John Terry headed in a Duff corner late on to settle the matter.
Napoli - 2012
Perhaps our greatest European comeback on home soil came during the glorious run to our first Champions League title in 2012 when we came from 3-1 down to see off a very good Napoli side.
Headed goals by Didier Drogba and Terry and a penalty clinically despatched by Lampard, after the Italian side had regained the aggregate lead, sent a thrilling encounter to extra time and set the stage for Branislav Ivanovic to thump home a memorable winner.
PSG - 2014
Our most recent comeback victory from two goals down in Europe was in a Champions League quarter-final tie in 2014, when Paris Saint-Germain were unable to hold on to their lead.
Javier Pastore’s stoppage-time effort at the Parc des Princes gave the French side a 3-1 advantage, but Chelsea’s never-say-die attitude came to the fore when the teams clashed again at the Bridge.
Andre Schurrle got one back after 32 minutes but the visitors held firm against the blue wave until three minutes from the end, when Demba Ba turned the ball home from close range to secure victory on away goals and spark pandemonium inside the Bridge.
Let’s hope for similar scenes tonight!