March 2024

Soccer's Most Shocking Upsets in Betting History

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Soccer's Most Shocking Upsets in Betting History

Soccer matches have provided some truly astonishing upsets over the years that have left spectators and bettors alike stunned. While an underdog emerging victorious from time to time is what makes this beautiful game so exciting to watch, some results have been so improbable that they border on the unbelievable. Let's revisit three of the sport's most seismic shakeups that destroyed predictions and betting markets alike. 

May 1989: Liverpool Stun the Italian Masters

Few gave Liverpool a chance when they traveled to Naples to face Serie A champions and betting favorites Napoli in the second leg of their UEFA Cup semi-final. The Italians boasted legendary players like Maradona and held a comfortable 3-0 lead from the first match. But the spirited Reds scored three second half goals, including an iconic volley from John Aldridge, to level the tie on aggregate and force extra time. An 120th minute header from Ian Rush sent Liverpool through on away goals and turned the betting outcome on its head in shocking fashion. 

related: USWNT's World Cup Loss vs. 2004 Men's Basketball Olympic Collapse - Which Stings More?

March 2017: Barcelona Stage Unthinkable Comeback Against PSG  

Holding a mammoth 4-0 first leg lead, Paris Saint-Germain were essentially guaranteed a spot in the Champions League quarterfinals against Barcelona.

But at Camp Nou, Lionel Messi inspired the impossible by scoring a hat-trick in a stunning 6-1 victory, overturning the deficit on aggregate in one of soccer's most unbelievable nights.

Sportsbooks and bettors were left speechless by the miracle comeback from Messi and Barcelona.

February 2004: Little Monaco Topple Manchester United  

Reigning Premier League champions Manchester United entered their Champions League matchup with Monaco as massive 1/6 favorites to progress. But the tiny Ligue 1 side, featuring a young Jerôme Rothen, had other ideas. A 2-1 first leg victory set Monaco up perfectly, and in the return at Old Trafford they defied all expectations with a 1-1 draw, eliminating Sir Alex Ferguson's star-studded team and ending United's hopes of a successful defense. Bookmakers were left reeling by the colossal betting upset.

October 2017: Leicester Stun Manchester City

Fancied Manchester City were installed as massive 1/7 shots by bookmakers to defeat struggling Leicester at home. But the defending champions showed their quality, taking the lead through Shinji Okazaki before Riyad Mahrez sealed a historic 2-0 victory with a late strike. It was a massive victory that gave hope to underdogs everywhere and showed that on any given day in soccer, gigantic betting favorites can fall. The shockwaves reverberated throughout the betting markets.

These stunning soccer shocks demonstrate why this beautiful game continues to captivate spectators worldwide. No matter the form guide or odds, anything can happen over 90 minutes of play. While upsets challenge betting operators and punters alike, they also generate emotion and drama that make international soccer such a compelling spectacle. Perhaps the next massive soccer shocker awaits just around the corner.

Barry Ugochukwu

Lead writer for JRZY FC. I am also a machine learning engineer & lover of tech, sports and all things football.

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