Top 10 insane injury-times: brilliant Bergkamp, heart attacks and own goals ahoy
Borussia Dortmund vs Malaga FC (2012/13)
Despite an outstanding 2012/13 Champions League campaign, Borussia Dortmund were about to bid farewell to Europe’s premier competition at the quarter-final stage. At least, that’s what everybody thought when Eliseu gave Malaga a 2-1 lead with only seven minutes to go. The first leg in Spain had ended in a goalless draw, meaning Dortmund now needed two goals to reach the semi-final.
Die Schwarzgelben, usually sparkling with joy that season, appeared so anxious on this evening that few people thought them capable of offering something in reply. But the team silenced the doubters, as Marco Reus pulled one back in the 91st minute, before centre-back Felipe Santana nudged the ball home a minute later. Four (!) Dortmund players had been offside, including the goalscorer himself. Surprisingly, Dortmund fans didn’t care. Jurgen Klopp's men saw off Real Madrid in the semis, before going down to Arjen Robben's winner in an all-German Wembley final against Bayern Munich.
Brentford vs Doncaster/Watford vs Leicester (2012/13)
Two remarkable promotion tussles ended in spookily similar fashion in May 2013.
First, with Bournemouth already assured promotion from League One, Brentford and Doncaster met at Griffin Park on the final day, knowing whoever won would take the second automatic promotion spot. Deep into injury-time with the score at 0-0, Brentford were awarded a potentially decisive penalty. Marcello Trotta, on loan from Fulham, wrestled the ball from designated penalty taker Kevin O’Connor, before promptly smacking his spot-kick against the bar. In the blink of an eye, Doncaster broke and netted a dramatic winner via James Coppinger.
With Bournemouth having failed to win at Tranmere, Rovers were champions. Brentford, broken and condemned to the play-offs, lost in the semi-finals to Swindon.
And so to Watford and Leicester’s Championship play-off semi-final second-leg meeting at Vicarage Road. With the match poised at 2-2 on aggregate and about to enter extra-time, Foxes winger Anthony Knockaert won a dubious penalty (given by Michael Oliver, the referee in charge of the aforementioned Brentford clash).
Hornets keeper Manuel Almunia pulled off a sensational double save, allowing Watford to counter. No need to guess the rest: within 20 seconds Kasper Schmeichel had flapped at the other end, before Troy Deeney fired the Hornets to Wembley (where they lost to Crystal Palace).
Huddersfield Town vs Barnsley (2012/13)
The same season's final day in the Championship was one of the most spectacular on record. Huddersfield and Barnsley both had a chance of filling the final relegation spot ahead of their fixture; the Terriers would have avoided relegation by dodging defeat, while Barnsley, who started the afternoon in the bottom three, needed to win. Peterborough went into their game against promotion-chasing Crystal Palace ahead on goal difference, so only needed to match Barnsley's result.
Sheffield Wednesday, at home to Middlesbrough, were only a point above the drop zone; Millwall two; and even Blackburn in 17th weren’t out of the woods for certain (although they would've needed a freakishly large goal-swing to slip into the third tier).
Going into the final 10 minutes of an afternoon full of twists and turns, Barnsley had a 2-1 lead at Huddersfield, while Peterborough were ahead by the same scoreline at Selhurst Park. Wednesday were out in the clear; Millwall level. As it stood, Huddersfield were down on goal difference.
But in those crucial final minutes, everything changed. Huddersfield equalised, while Crystal Palace turned the game around against Peterborough to lead 3-2 in the 89th minute, in between which time Millwall conceded (not that it mattered too much by this point).
With the Posh score trickling through to the Galpharm Stadium, as things stood, Huddersfield and Barnsley were safe. So for the final two minutes, Tykes goalkeeper Luke Steele simply kept the ball unopposed in his area to ensure safety.
SV Burlage vs RSV Emden (2013/14)
Digging deep in the national district leagues can sometimes yield remarkable stories. For instance, see this clash between north German clubs SV Burlage and RSV Emden in the Bezirksliga (seventh division). It may not sound very exciting, but their match in April 2014 was fit for Hollywood.
After Burlage gained a comfortable 2-0 lead, the visitors managed a sensational comeback, making it 3-2, and later even 4-3. However, the hosts turned the match around again and scored to make it 5-4 in the 79th minute. With only five minutes to go, Emden equalised again, which made the score 5-5 after 90 minutes. By this stage, Burlage were three men down – two players had been sent off, and another, brilliantly, had to leave the pitch to arrive at work on time.
In injury time, the linesman denied Emden a winning goal, but the players had no time to protest – an ambulance sped across the pitch and stopped in front of the home team’s bench to resuscitate Burlage coach Jan Rieken, whose pacemaker couldn’t cope with all the earlier celebrating. When doctors gave the all-clear, the referee proceeded with the rest of the injury-time, where Matthias Tinnemeyer eventually scored a sixth for the depleted Burlage. Rieken, who was on the way to the hospital, couldn’t celebrate this time.
Atletico Lanus vs Arsenal de Sarandi (2014)
Going into this match, Lanus were aiming to close the gap on league leaders River Plate with victory over mid-table Arsenal de Sarandi.
However, as the match entered the first of five minutes of injury time, Lanus trailed 1-2. In the final seconds of that fifth minute, Lanus won a corner and equalised through Diego Gonzalez. With next to no time left on the clock, a draw seemed certain.
Yet referee Andres Merlos controversially managed to find four extra minutes of added time, much to the obvious fury of Arsenal staff. In an additional (additional) period that featured a wild kung-fu kick that went unpunished, Lanus nicked a winner in the ninth minute of stoppage time. The reaction? A mass brawl between players and coaches on both sides, and a pitch invasion to boot.
Ref Merlos was suspended indefinitely by the Argentine FA.