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FIFTH EUROPEAN COMEBACK FOR DEPOR

08 Oct 2008
The epic return against Brann Bergen continues to generate comments in the media. It was the ninth time in which Deportivo was forced to search a comeback at the Riazor playing for European competition. And the Galician team succeeded for the fifth occasion.

On the past Thursday, Deportivo was able to achieve a comeback in tough conditions, Lotina’s team lost the first-leg in UEFA with Bran Bergen with at 0-2 score and was needing a 3-0 win on order to advance to the group stage. It seemed things might be easy as Colotto scored the first goal early in the first half, but the expulsion of Riki left Depor with ten men on the pitch and things turned complicated.

In the end Depor was able to achieve the comeback, and for the first time it did it through a penalty shoot-out. But this wasn’t the first occasion in which the Galician club eluded a European elimination after losing the first-leg away from home. Actually it was the fifth success in nine intents. The first opportunity was during the debut of Depor in Europe. During the first round of the UEFA 1993/1994, Depor lost with Danish club Aalborg BK (AaB) at the Aalborg Stadion (0-1). In the returning leg the Galicians smashed the rival with three goals from Bebeto and two from Claudio (5-0).

Later in that same season, Depor met Eintrach Frankfurt in the third round. As it happened against Aalborg, the Galician side lost the first-leg encounter away from home with a 0-1 score, but this time it also lost the returning leg at the Riazor (0-1). It was the first home defeat for Depor playing for European competitions and also the first time in which Deportivo failed to achieve a comeback at the Riazor.

In the following season, Depor returned to the UEFA Cup and once again lost the first match of the first round playing away from home and with a 0-1 score. This time the rival was Rosenborg BK and the comeback at the Riazor was more difficult as Depor needed the extra-time in order to eliminate the Norwegian side. One more time the hero was Bebeto as he scored a goal during the regular time and later the Brazilian added two more in the extra-time, the other goal was scored by Donato through a penalty (4-1).

And things seemed much difficult for Depor in the second round as the squad coached by Arsenio Iglesias lost the first-leg against Austrian club FC Tirol Innsbruck with a 0-2 score. Again Depor was forced to search a comeback at the Riazor. But things ended well as the Galician squad scored three goals in the first 39 minutes. The final score was 4-0. This time the hero was Claudio with two goals scored, the other two were conquered by Donato and Manjar?­n.

The fifth occasion in which Depor was forced to search for a European comeback at the Riazor occurred in the season 1999/2000. And again it occurred facing a Norwegian side in the UEFA Cup first round. The rival was Stabaek IF.  Depor lost the first leg at the Ullevaal stadium with a 0-1 score. In the returning leg Depor suffered but it was able to achieve the comeback thanks to the goals of Jokanovic and Flavio Conceicao.

After eliminating Montpellier and Panathinaikos in that same season, Depor reached the last eight round in UEFA for the first time, there it met Arsenal FC. The first-leg was played at Highbury and the Galicians side was smashed with a 1-5 defeat and with goals scored by Dixon, Henry (2), Kanu and Bergkamp. It was the first major task for Depor as Irureta’s team was now needing a 4-0 win at the Riazor in order to advance. It wasn’t possible as Deportivo was only able to obtain a 2-1 victory in the returning leg, the goals were scored by V?­ctor and Iv??n P?©rez. Despite the win, this was the second occasion in which Depor failed to achieve a comeback at the Riazor.

Then the times of the Champions League arrived. Within the seasons 2000/2001 and 2004/2005, Depor played 62 matches in the highest European competition, and in two occasions the Galicians were forced to search for a comeback at home after losing the first match in a two-leg series. The first occasion was against Leeds United in the quarter finals of the season 2000/2001. Irureta’s team lost the first match at Elland Road with a 0-3 score and later was only able to win the second game with a 2-0 tough it had countless chances to score more goals.

The other opportunity is without doubt one of the most glorious moments in the history of Deportivo: The famous comeback against AC Milan. It was the season 2004/2005 and both sides were colliding in the quarter finals of the Champions League. Depor played a good game at the Giuseppe Meazza during the first 40 minutes, but then it felt down and leaked four goals in ten minutes.

With a 1-4 in the aggregate score, Irureta’s side was needing a 3-0 win at the Riazor, and it achieved more than that as Deportivo destroyed the winners of the previous Champions League edition with a 4-0 score. Actually at the time it was the bigger comeback in a UEFA clubs competition within the last fifty years.


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