AFTER being dazzled like the rest of the football world by Barcelona’s stunning comeback against Paris Saint-Germain, Lee Sobot recalls a memorable Whites comeback from 2005.
Barcelona must have thought they were down and out when losing the first leg of their last 16 Champions League tie in Paris 4-0. Yet Luis Enrique’s side are ultimately through to the quarter finals after a sensational 6-1 triumph in the second leg. Back in November 2005, Kevin Blackwell’s promotion-chasing Whites also looked to be starring at certain defeat when trailing 3-0 at Championship hosts Southampton at half-time. While not quite matching Barcelona’s epic achievements, four unanswered Whites goals in the second half en route to a 4-3 victory at St Mary’s was still pretty special.
Southampton looked home and hosed when racing into a 3-0 lead by the 45th minute, with Marian Pahars giving the home side a 27th-minute lead with a close range header from a corner. Nigel Quashie then doubled the Southampton advantage eight minutes later and Leeds looked destined for a miserable trip back to Yorkshire when Quashie doubled his tally from the penalty spot on the stroke of half time after Dan Harding’s hand ball. Even with just over 20 minutes remaining, United were still 3-0 down. But four minutes after the introduction of David Healy, skipper Paul Butler headed home the first United response from Gary Kelly’s 71st-minute corner and the comeback then definitely looked on when Robbie Blake slammed home United’s second from Healy’s cross just six minutes later. Nerves set in among Harry Redknapp’s hosts and after Danny Higginbotham handled in the area, the Whites were awarded an 84th-minute penalty which Healy fired into the top corner from 12 yards to make an incredible game 3-3. Yet the afternoon was to get even better for Leeds who incredibly went on to take all three points when Rob Hulse’s cross found Manchester United loanee Liam Miller who slammed home United’s fourth goal four minutes from time to spark wild celebrations from the huge contingent of away fans behind the same goal.
“All the plaudits go to the players,” said boss Blackwell, whose men went on to finish fifth before losing in the play-off final to Watford.
“That’s something you see only rarely in football, and we’re on the right end of it.
“At half-time I told them firstly to go out and regain some pride, and then see if you can get a goal, to see how that affects Southampton.
“That team has got us in the top six, so deserved the chance to dig us out.”