I was watching the last ODI between India and Pakistan. As they had done throughout the series, the Pakistani quickies bundled up India pretty cheaply. And I thought India could win this match only through some divine intervention. Some 3 hours later what I saw was some miracle. India actually successfully defended such a small total against the Pakistani line up who had been destroying the Indian bowlers through out the series. It was then when I thought, “Do miracles really happen?”
I do not know about reality, but in sports miracles do happen. I would mention the top 5 moments which I believe were miracle.
Miracle of Istanbul
Liverpool’s run to the final of the Champions League was a miracle in itself, but there was to be one final, phenomenal twist for Rafa Benitez’s men. Finding themselves 3-0 down at half-time to hot favourites AC Milan, Liverpool looked set for humiliation. The gods however seemed to be smiling on Rafa’s team and a second-half comeback was on after Steven Gerrard and Vladimir Smicer pulled two back for the Reds in quick succession. Xabi Alonso completed the dramatic six minute revival and, after a nervy final 30 minutes and extra-time, the final would be decided by penalties. Jerzy Dudek’s memorable performance in goal ensured that Liverpool would lift the trophy for a fifth time in the most miraculous of circumstances.
Manchester United vs Bayern Munich – 1999 Champions League Finals
The great comeback kings of the modern football era, Manchester United defined their dominance of the ’90s with a last gasp turnaround in the 1999 Champions League final. Trailing early on and finding themselves increasingly pinned back, Sir Alex Ferguson’s men would need a miracle to take the game to extra-time, let alone win it within 90 minutes. However that’s exactly what they did, as late goals from Teddy Sheringham and Ole Gunnar Solskjaer ensured United would cap of an historic treble in style. Football? Bloody ‘ell!
Widely regarded as one of the most incredible golfing shots, Tiger Woods’ audacious chip at the 2005 Masters showed a player at the peak of his powers. With the ball sitting just on the edge of the rough, Woods would need a miracle to hole, but in one stroke of his club lifted the ball on to the green and let the rest take care of itself
Trinity College ‘lateral’ touchdown
We all talk about the beautiful football that that Brazil and Spain play. But here is what the Americans would call as beautiful football. The final play begins on Trinity’s 39-yard line with two seconds remaining before 15 laterals (backward passes) complete an incredible score. It was voted Time Magazine’s No 1 sporting moment of 2007. Indeed beautiful Football!
Miracle on Ice
With the Cold War at its peak, a 1980 Winter Olympics ice-hockey clash between the USA and Soviet Union would provide the perfect setting for the two super-powers to flex their muscles, albeit with the Russians heavily favoured. Dubbed the ‘Miracle on Ice’, the fixture would see the United States face a Soviet side which had won nearly every world and Olympic title since 1954; the Americans were unable to field their professional stars in what was then an amateur Olympic tournament, forcing them to use college players in the ice hockey tournament (the Soviets were unhindered by this policy, as their [players were all officially classed as amateur, despite being effectively professional, leading to the term ‘shamateur’ being coined). With ten minutes left of the final third, the US took a surprise 4-3 lead, much to the disbelief of the Soviets, who bombarded the US goal to no avail. As the clock ran down, the crowd went into pandemonium, leading to commentator Al Michaels to deliver his famous line: “Do you believe in miracles?”