Four of the Champions League’s biggest shocks

Real Madrid‘s defeat to Moldovan National Division champions Sheriff Tiraspol on Tuesday went down as one of the biggest upsets in Champions League history.

Sheriff, who have never before qualified for Europe’s premier competition, secured a 2-1 victory over the 13-time champions at the Bernabeu.

Which other games stand as some of the biggest shocks in the competition’s history?

Celtic 2-1 Barcelona (2012)

This was the game that recorded some of the most incredible possession statistics you will ever see.

Celtic recorded just 11% possession against Barcelona in the group stage of the Champions League at Celtic Park in 2012, and completed 166 passes to their opponents’ 955.

They only had five shots on goal in the entire match as well. But Neil Lennon’s side needed just two to make Champions League history.

Victor Wanyama gave Celtic the lead, before teenager Tony Watt came off the bench and extended their advantage. Lionel Messi‘s late injury time goal, for once, wasn’t enough to secure any points for Barca.

Manchester United 1-1 Porto (2004)

Paul Scholes’s disallowed goal. Benni McCarthy’s free kick. Jose Mourinho‘s sprint down the Old Trafford touchline. And Sir Alex Ferguson criticising the referee.

The 2003/04 Champions League last 16 second leg tie between Manchester United and Porto had everything.

United had most of the chances in the game, and Paul Scholes’s header gave them the lead on 31 minutes.

Scholes later saw a disallowed strike was incorrectly ruled out for offside, and United had other chances to win.

But Porto – led by their young manager, Jose Maria dos Santos Mourinho Felix – had chances of their own, and hung in there until the very end. When McCarthy’s late free kick was parried away, Costinha stole in to break United hearts and set Porto on the way to Champions League glory.

AC Milan 3-3 Liverpool (2005)

At half-time in the 2005 Champions League final, Liverpool’s hopes of winning were gone. At 3-0 down, the second half was about damage limitation. Or so many people thought.

That was never going to be the way with Liverpool. Except it was, in a way, damage limitation. The damage of potentially returning home without that elusive fifth Champions League crown.

On first half evidence, they were facing an unstoppable machine in AC Milan. Kaka, the world’s premier attacking midfielder. One of the leading strikers in Europe in Andriy Shevchenko. Could there be a miracle?

Indeed there was. Rafael Benitez’s half-time alterations – bringing Dietmar Hamann on for Steve Finnan and switching to 3-5-2 – worked perfectly. Within 12 minutes of the second half, it was 3-2.

Then came a spot kick, and up stepped Xabi Alonso. The fact that he missed it was no matter when he steamed in to fire the rebound into the back of the net. Penalty shootout heroics from the scorers and Jerzy Dudek ensured the ‘Miracle of Istanbul’ was complete.

Barcelona 6-1 Paris Saint-Germain (2017)

When Unai Emery’s Paris Saint-Germain thrashed Barcelona 4-0 at the Parc des Princes in 2017, it looked like the French giants had finally announced themselves as true Champions League contenders.

When the return leg of this last 16 tie loomed, Barca needed to put in the perfect performance.

Whilst a reverse 4-0 result perhaps seemed feasible – PSG had some defensive weaknesses – nobody quite expected what was to follow.

When Lionel Messi made it 3-0 to Barca on 50 minutes with PSG’s defence crumbling, it was Emery’s side who were feeling the pressure.

That pressure was eased somewhat when Edinson Cavani scored for PSG to make it 5-3 on aggregate. Barca needed three goals to progress and, by 88 minutes, no more goals had arrived.

That changed when Neymar planted a perfect free-kick. Then Luis Suarez won a penalty, which the Brazilian converted. 5-1 on the night. One more goal needed.

That goal arrived in the third minute of stoppage time, Sergi Roberto getting on the end of another Neymar free-kick to complete arguably the greatest comeback of all-time.

Featured Image Credit: Getty