Barça have had to come back from a 2-1 defeat in the first leg of a European tie a total of five times –three times successfully and twice against English opposition, Ipswich, when they won and Leeds United, when they lost.
Great Cruyff performance not enough
In 1977 Barça and Bilbao met in the quarter finals of the UEFA Cup and the Basques won 2-1 in the
first leg at San Mames after Churruca and Dani replied to Asensi’s opening goal. Although
Johann Cruyff scored twice in the return leg, Bilbao’s Irureta also got two and it was Bilbao
who went through to the semis.
Coming back from the 2-1 defeat in London certainly isn’t impossible for Guardiola’s
men and the Club’s history has plenty of examples of similar comebacks. Since the Club first
took part in European games in 1955, they have faced a 2-1 deficit from the first leg on five
occasions and in three of them they have come through the tie.
Bobby Robson’s Ipswich
The last time Barça had to come back from losing 2-1 was in the 1978/79 season
after losing at Portman Road to Bobby Robson’s Ipswich Town in the quarter finals of the Cup
The English team’s 2-1 win in the first leg was not without
controversy as Barça claimed their keeper Artola had been fouled in Ipswich’s first goal,
whilst Robson’s side demanded the sending off of Zuviría for some rough play. Gates got both
Ipswich’s goals, whilst Esteban got the all-important away goal for Barça.
On March 21st 1979, Lucien Muller’s Barça did the job at the Nou Camp, with a 39th
minute goal from Migueli proving enough to win the tie in a game in which Barça’s domination
deserved more than that single strike.
Rifé and Zaballa goals see off Royal Anvers
In the last 16 of the 1966 Fairs Cup, Barça also had to overcome a 2-1 defeat in
the first round, against the Belgian team Royal Anvers. An own goal from Eladio and a second from
Segers was answered by a single goal from Rifé.
In the return game at the Nou Camp, Barça overcame the disadvantage of
playing with 10 men from the 28th minutes, after an injury to Chuss Pereda, to run out 2-0 winners,
thanks to goals from Rifé and Zaballa.
Toss of a coin in Hannover
In the next round of that season’s Fairs Cup – the quarter finals -,
Barça were drawn against Hannover . At that time, there was no away goals rule and if a draw
happened over the two legs, a third game was played and if that didn’t settle things, then it
was decided on the toss of a coin.
won 2-1 in Germany and Barça replied with a 1-0 win in Catalonia. The third game was played in
Hannover and that ended 1-1 after extra time. Luck was on Barça’s side though and they won
the toss to take the tie and move onto the semis.
Leeds end European Cup dream
The semi final of the 1975 European Cup is still a bitter memory for many Barça fans. Leeds
United won 2-1 at Elland Road, with goals from Bremner and Clarke and one from Asensi direct from a
free kick, but not even the magic of playing on San Jordi’s Day was enough to help Barça come
back at the Nou Camp.
Peter Lorimer scored after just 6 minutes in the return leg to silence the Catalan
crowd, who had turned up hoping for a historic European night. The equaliser didn’t come till
the second half, when Clares turned in a Gallego cross, but the disciplined English defence held
out and Barça were unable to force extra time.