There are so many reasons why soccer’s the most popular game in the world, played by millions and watched by billions. Yes, there’s the skill and artistry of the players, the tribal joy of following your own team or country and the electric atmosphere when you attend the match yourself. But another major appeal of the game is its ability to throw up the most unexpected score lines that seem to defy logic and go against all predictions.
What’s more, they happen at every level of the game from the lower domestic leagues right up to when the best countries meet on an international stage. And, from all of the matches in which the form book’s been torn up, here are three of the biggest upsets.
Manchester City 1 – Leicester City 3 (2016)
We had to kick off the list with a pivotal match that led to the biggest Premiership upset of all time. Leicester were already heading the table in February 2016 but there weren’t many people who believed that they would still be there at the end of the season – although anyone who had done a little football betting at Space Casino backing them was in for a very nice surprise come May. Vardy continued to show the form he had all season, darting all over the pitch and leaving defenders in his wake. Huth and Mahrez were the scorers, and City were left dazed by the experience.
Barcelona 6 – PSG 1 (2017)
They say it’s never over till the ref’s final whistle blows and nowhere has it been more true than in this heavyweight clash in the second leg of the teams meeting in the Champions League. Barca went into the match 4-0 down after a bruising encounter with the big-money French side. By the 87th minute it looked like they were going out 5-3 on aggregate. But then Neymar came to life. In the 88th minute he scored, repeating it in the first minute of stoppage time. They were still looking at a defeat on the strength of PSG’s away goal when Sergi Roberto found the net with virtually the last kick of the game. The fact that the Spanish team went on to be soundly beaten in the next round by Juventus did nothing to take away from the achievement.
Liverpool 3 – Milan 3 (2005)
It might seem unusual to include a drawn match in this line-up, but it’s all a question of context in Liverpool’s Champions League Final of 2005. Benitez had had to put together a rag-bag style of team thanks to injury problems. At half time Liverpool were 3-0 down and it seemed like there would be no comeback. But it must have been quite the half-time team talk as it inspired goals from Gerard, Smicer, and Alonso. The deadlock went on through extra time and it seemed like an inevitability that Liverpool would go on to win the penalty shoot-out.
So there you have them. Three amazing matches with three unbelievable results – and may there be many more of this caliber in the future!
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