10 brilliant European second-leg comebacks that prove there's always hope

You don't have to be down in the dumps even after the worst of first legs, writes Charles Ducksbury

Real Madrid vs Derby, 1975/76 (1-4, 5-1)

After the success of Brian Clough's glorious era at Derby it was his best signing, Dave Mackay, who led the Rams during their second European Cup campaign. Up against Real Madrid in the second round, Charlie George netted a hat-trick in a 4-1 home win.

Midfielder Archie Gemmill remembers: “We arrived two days before the [return] game and had time to do some sightseeing – though nowadays there would be no walking around a city for hours.”

Derby were then dismantled 5-1 in front of 120,000 fans, thanks in part to a Roberto Martinez (no, not that one) double.

Partizan Belgrade vs QPR, 1984/85 (2-6, 4-0)

Pitted against Partizan Belgrade in the UEFA Cup, QPR hammered the Yugoslavs 6-2 in a ‘home’ game played at Arsenal’s Highbury (thanks to Loftus Road’s plastic pitch).

Alan Mullery’s side then travelled to Belgrade for the return, only to be taken apart 4-0 and tumble out on away goals. “Mullery chased us down the tunnel telling us to come back for extra-time,” said goalkeeper Peter Hucker. “He didn’t even know the rules.” Unsurprisingly, the ex-Spurs man was axed weeks later.

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