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The top 20 most dramatic injury-time winners in football history

To mark eight years since Sergio Aguero's unforgettable last-gasp goal to win the title, Sports Mole ranks the 20 most dramatic injury-time winners in football history.

There is nothing in football quite like an injury-time winner.

When the fourth official's board goes up, you enter a stage of the match where the nerves are more frayed than ever and one mistake or one moment of magic can prove decisive with little or no time left to respond.

It is a time when heroes and villains are made, lasting memories are forged and the absolute peak time for drama in a sport which provides so many twists and turns.

While some injury-time goals are enough to earn three points, others are even more significant, winning knockout ties, cup finals and even league titles in the most dramatic fashion.

One of the most famous and unforgettable examples took place exactly eight years ago today when Sergio Aguero snatched victory for Manchester City on the final day of the season against Queens Park Rangers, securing the Premier League title at local rivals Manchester United's expense in the process.

Man City players celebrate their last-gasp title win in 2012© Reuters

The anniversary gives us the perfect chance to look back on some of the other incredible last-gasp finales and where Aguero's moment in the sun ranks among some of football's most dramatic winners.

The rules for inclusion are as follows:

- Only goals scored in stoppage time at the end of matches, i.e. beyond the 90-minute or 120-minute marks, count.
- Only goals that were directly responsible for winning a match, tie or title count.

So, without further ado, here is Sports Mole list of the 20 greatest injury-time winners in the history of football.



20. Matthias Tinnemeyer - SV Burlage (vs. RSV Emden)

By far the lowest-profile match on the list, but by no means the least dramatic. This German seventh-tier contest shot to the headlines in April 2014 following a truly remarkable to-and-fro showdown.

There had already been plenty of drama before injury time, with Emden coming from two goals down to lead 3-2 and then 4-3, only for Burlage to then launch a comeback of their own to make it 5-4 with 11 minutes of normal time remaining.

Emden equalised again to make it 5-5 at the end of the 90 and looked certain to go on and claim at least a draw against their eight-man hosts, who had seen two men sent off and had another forced to leave early in order to get to work on time.

The visitors thought they had a stoppage-time winner until the linesman ruled it out, at which stage an ambulance drove across the pitch to resuscitate Burlage coach Jan Rieken, for whom the drama had proven too much.

After a lengthy stoppage, and with Rieken en route to hospital, play eventually resumed and Matthias Tinnemeyer scored the winner for the depleted hosts to seal a 6-5 triumph in one of the most incredible matches ever.



19. Michael Pook - Cheltenham Town (vs. Burton Albion)

Another 11-goal thriller from the lower leagues, and one which provided another truly memorable storyline throughout with nine of those goals coming in the second half alone.

Cheltenham Town were battling against relegation in League Two when they visited newly-promoted Burton Albion's Pirelli Stadium for the first time in March 2010 and seemed on course for defeat when they trailed 2-0 at half time.

Two goals in as many minutes restored parity only for Burton to then rebuild their two-goal advantage heading into the final 10 minutes.

Incredibly, what was already a topsy-turvy six-goal affair would see five more go in from the 84th minute onwards; Michael Pook scored on 84' to make it 4-3, Steve Kabba responded one minute later to make it 5-3 and then Pook netted another two minutes after that to reduce the deficit to one goal again.

Justin Richards then scored an injury-time equaliser to make it 5-5 before Pook secured his place in Cheltenham folklore with an even later winner, completing a hat-trick in 10 minutes to snatch victory from the jaws of what looked to be certain defeat.

Even more remarkably, Pook only scored nine goals in his entire Football League career, with a third of them coming in those madcap 10 minutes.



18. Dennis Bergkamp - Netherlands (vs. Argentina)

A far cry from the lower leagues of Germany and England, Dennis Bergkamp produced arguably the best goal in this countdown and on one of the biggest stages too - the 1998 World Cup quarter-final.

Netherlands and Argentina were locked at 1-1 in Marseille when the clock ticked over 90, with Claudio Lopez having earlier cancelled out Patrick Kluivert's opener.

A moment of magic was needed, so step forward Bergkamp. Frank de Boer sent a pinpoint 60-yard pass towards the Arsenal maestro, who produced a delicious first touch to control it, played it through the legs of Roberto Ayala with his second and then volleyed past Carlos Roa with his third - one of the best goals in World Cup history.

Not only did it send Netherlands through to the semi-finals of the World Cup, where they lost to Brazil incidentally, but it also saw Bergkamp become the all-time record goalscorer for his country.



17. Felipe Santana - Borussia Dortmund (vs. Malaga)

Last-gasp winners are all the better when they come after an unlikely comeback, and Dortmund produced one of the most unlikely in Champions League history against Malaga in 2013.

The two sides had played out a goalless draw in the first leg of the quarter-final in Spain, and Dortmund's hopes of progressing further looked bleak when Eliseu made it 2-1 to Malaga with only seven minutes remaining.

The away-goals rule meant that Dortmund needed two goals to make it into the semi-finals, which remained the case as the clock ticked into injury time.

Just as all hope seemed to have faded, Marco Reus pulled one of the goals back in the 91st minute, before Felipe Santana sent Jurgen Klopp and co into delirium with another just one minute after that.

In truth the goal should never have stood - Santana was just one of the Dortmund players offside - but the German outfit did not care as they went on to reach the final, where they lost to Bayern Munich.



16. Lionel Messi - Barcelona (vs. Real Madrid)

Of all the many, many goals Lionel Messi has scored throughout his glittering career, few would have brought him quite as much satisfaction as this one.

The defending champions trailed Real Madrid by three points having played a game more than their fiercest rivals when they visited the Bernabeu, and they knew that defeat would all but end their hopes of retaining the title.

Even a draw would have left things firmly in Madrid's hands, and James Rodriguez appeared to have earned that for the hosts with an 85th-minute equaliser after Sergio Ramos had been sent off.

Messi had earlier scored his 499th Barcelona goal with a fine solo effort, and he brought the significant 500 milestone up in the most dramatic fashion with a first-time finish into the bottom corner in the 92nd minute.

The goal sent Barcelona back to the top of the table with five games left courtesy of their head-to-head record, although Madrid made use of their game in hand to go on and pip their Clasico rivals to the title.



15. Dejan Lovren - Liverpool (vs. Borussia Dortmund)

Dortmund pulled off their own remarkable European comeback against Malaga in 2012-13, but three years later - and with Klopp now in the opposite dugout - they were on the wrong end of one at the hands of Liverpool here.

A 1-1 first-leg draw in Germany had given Liverpool the slight advantage heading back to Anfield, but within 10 minutes of the second leg starting they appeared to be heading out courtesy of quickfire goals from Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang.

Divock Origi pulled one back for the hosts shortly after half time, only for Marco Reus to restore Dortmund's two-goal lead to leave Liverpool needing three goals in the final half an hour.

The Reds are no strangers to epic comebacks, though, and goals from Philippe Coutinho (66') and Mamadou Sakho (77') pulled them level on the night and left them needing only one more to progress to the Europa League semi-finals.

It took until the 91st minute for that goal to finally come, and the unlikely source made it all the more dramatic as Dejan Lovren nodded home to send Anfield wild.

Liverpool went on to make it all the way to the final, where they were beaten by Sevilla.



14. Steve Bruce - Manchester United (vs. Sheffield Wednesday)

A goal which ranks among the most dramatic and most important in Premier League history; without Steve Bruce's 96th-minute winner against Sheffield Wednesday we may never have seen Manchester United go on to dominate the first two decades of the competition.

The Red Devils had gone 26 years without being crowned champions of England but were in the mix during the inaugural Premier League campaign, battling it out with Aston Villa at the top of the table.

The visiting Wednesday looked set to inflict a damaging defeat on United at Old Trafford when they led 1-0 with only five minutes remaining, but Bruce rediscovered his uncanny eye for goal at the opportune moment, ending a six-month drought in incredible fashion.

First the centre-back equalised in the 86th minute, and then six minutes into injury-time he met Gary Pallister's cross with a bullet header that sent Sir Alex Ferguson and assistant Brian Kidd hopping onto the pitch in euphoria.

'Fergie Time' was born, United went on to win their first Premier League title and the foundations had been set for a dynasty which lasted 20 years.



13. Kelvin - Porto (vs. Benfica)

Ninety minutes into the penultimate game of the season and Portugal's two most successful teams, who are once again vying for the title, are locked at 1-1.

Porto had won eight of the previous 10 titles, but Benfica seemed to be on the verge of toppling their greatest foes with a two-point lead heading into their trip to the Estadio Do Dragao.

A draw would have left them only needing to match Porto's result on the final day of the season, whereas victory would have handed them the title in Porto's own backyard.

For the hosts, the only way to wrestle control of the title into their own hands was to win. Up stepped 19-year-old Kelvin, who had spent the majority of the season in the second tier with the reserves, with a stunning strike from an acute angle in the 91st minute to add a dramatic twist in a nip-and-tuck title race.

The win moved Porto one point clear of Benfica and they went on to win the title yet again the following week, while Kelvin never scored another league goal for the club.



12. David Gray - Hibernian (vs. Rangers)

Hibernian had not won the Scottish Cup for 114 years heading into the 2016 final against Rangers, while they only had a trio of Scottish League Cups to their name since last being crowned top-flight champions in 1951-52.

Rangers had already seen their fair share of drama on their way past Old Firm rivals Celtic in the semi-final, but they learned early that the final would not be any more straightforward as Hibs took the lead after only three minutes.

The favourites, who had lifted the trophy a whopping 30 times since Hibs last got their hands on it, hit back to lead 2-1, but Anthony Stokes doubled his personal tally with 10 minutes remaining to send the game heading towards extra time.

That was until Alan Stubbs's side won a corner in the second minute of injury time which captain David Gray met with a header that inked his name into Hibernian history - one of only 14 goals he has scored in his entire senior career to date.



11. Ben Watson - Wigan Athletic (vs. Manchester City)

Three years earlier in the English FA Cup final there was an even bigger David vs. Goliath contest as Wigan Athletic came up against free-spending Manchester City at Wembley.

Man City had won the Premier League the previous season and were bidding for a second FA Cup in three years, whereas Wigan were on course for relegation from the top flight and had never won a major trophy in their entire history - the biggest previously had been League One or the Football League Trophy.

Yet the magic of the cup can never be counted out, and the Latics had already fared much better than many had expected when they reached injury time with the scores still goalless.

The match seemed destined for extra time, but in scenes remarkably similar to what would happen between Hibs and Rangers a few years later, a late Wigan corner led to Ben Watson's glancing header to seal one of the greatest FA Cup final upsets of all time.



10. Andres Iniesta - Barcelona (vs. Chelsea)

Ask any Barcelona fan for their favourite Andres Iniesta moment and most would say this goal, ahead of even his winner for Spain in the 2010 World Cup final.

Chelsea looked destined to meet Manchester United in the final of the Champions League for the second year in a row when they led Barca 1-0 at Stamford Bridge heading into injury time, with the first leg having ended goalless at Camp Nou.

However, the match was still on a knife edge and, despite Barcelona being reduced to 10 men, Chelsea knew that only one goal was needed to kill off their chances in devastating fashion.

To add to the drama, the Blues felt a burning sense of injustice following one of the most controversial refereeing performances in Champions League history, with Tom Henning Ovrebo having turned down a number of penalty claims amongst other questionable calls.

All of that merely exacerbated the feeling of despair when Iniesta sent an incredible first-time strike into the top corner with the outside of his boot, firing Barcelona into the final of the Champions League at Chelsea's expense.

Pep Guardiola's side went on to beat United in Rome, and Iniesta's strike has since been credited with kickstarting a dominant era for a team widely regarded as the greatest in club football history.



9. Sergi Roberto - Barcelona (vs. Paris Saint-Germain)

Barcelona have been on the wrong end of some incredible Champions League comebacks in recent years, but they pulled off arguably the best of the lot themselves in the 2016-17 last 16.

The Spanish giants seemed down and out even before the second leg began having slumped to a 4-0 defeat in Paris, yet hope was rekindled when they pulled it back to 4-3 on aggregate at Camp Nou.

However, their dreams of producing the biggest turnaround ever seen in the competition looked to be over once and for all when Edinson Cavani netted an away goal in the second half, making it 3-1 on the night, 5-3 on aggregate and leaving Barcelona needing three goals.

That was still the case in the 87th minute when even the most ardent supporter must have given up all hope, and even a stunning Neymar free kick only looked like a consolation until he added another from the penalty spot in the opening seconds of stoppage time.

Five minutes added-on time were signalled but the clock was closer to 96 minutes when Neymar turned provider, delivering the cross for Sergi Roberto's odds-defying aggregate winner which sent Camp Nou wild.

For pure drama few goals come close, but ultimately all it earned Barcelona was a place in the quarter-finals, where they were beaten by Juventus.



8. Troy Deeney - Watford (vs. Leicester City)

Few occasions consistently throw up dramatic moments more than the Championship playoffs, and Troy Deeney's strike against Leicester in 2013 is without doubt at the top of that long list.

The scores were level at 2-2 on aggregate deep into injury time, and extra time seemed inevitable until Anthony Knockaert won a questionable penalty for the visiting Foxes.

The winger insisted on taking the spot kick himself, only to be thwarted by Manuel Almunia, who made an even better second save immediately afterwards before Watford were finally able to clear the danger.

Just seconds later the ball was in the back of the net at the other end, with Deeney slamming a half-volley past the scrambling defence in the 97th minute to complete a jaw-dropping end to the game and book Watford's place in football's richest game.

Few moments in football history better encapsulate how quickly fortunes can change during a match, although ultimately both teams had to settle for another season in the Championship with Watford losing to Crystal Palace in the final at Wembley.



7. James Coppinger - Doncaster Rovers (vs. Brentford)

Incredibly, just two weeks prior to Deeney's heroics there was almost a carbon copy in the league below as promotion rivals Doncaster and Brentford met at Griffin Park on the final day.

The contest was a straight shootout for the second automatic promotion spot in League One, with Bournemouth having already clinched the first, and it was a winner-takes-all affair.

With 81 points to Brentford's 79, Doncaster were on course to go up until Brentford were awarded a penalty in stoppage time - score that and the Bees had secured promotion.

Fulham loanee Marcello Trotta took the ball off the usual penalty taker Kevin O'Connor in scenes eerily similar to what would follow at Vicarage Road a couple of weeks later, but proceeded to cannon his spot kick against the crossbar.

Within seconds, Doncaster had broken up the other end and poured salt in the wound by scoring through James Coppinger, whose goal not only wrapped up promotion but also the League One title with Bournemouth having failed to win their final game of the season.

The Championship playoffs is certainly higher stakes than that, but the decisiveness of this goal in terms of the season as a whole is enough to see it rank just above Deeney's more famous strike.



6. Lucas Moura - Tottenham Hotspur (vs. Ajax)

One night after Liverpool had pulled off an historic Champions League comeback against Barcelona at Anfield, Tottenham ensured an all-English final by producing arguably even more dramatic scenes in Amsterdam.

Ajax won the first leg in North London to leave themselves in command of the tie at the halfway stage, and they had one foot firmly in the final when Matthijs de Ligt gave them a lead after only five minutes of the second leg.

Hakim Ziyech's strike 10 minutes before half time then left Spurs needing three away goals without reply in the second half to progress - something which looked nigh-on impossible against a swashbuckling Ajax side that had already beaten Real Madrid and Juventus en route to the semi-finals.

Lucas Moura gave them hope with one back 10 minutes after the interval and then restored belief with a quickfire second, but it was Ajax who were still on course to meet Liverpool in Madrid when the clock went red.

However, literally the second the full five minutes of allotted injury time had elapsed, Lucas completed his hat-trick and with it another Champions League comeback for the ages.

Spurs went on to lose to Liverpool in the final, but in getting there had given their fans arguably the most memorable moment in the club's entire history.



5. Patrik Andersson - Bayern Munich (vs. Hamburg)

Long before 'Agueroooooooooo' there was Patrik Andersson, who sealed the Bundesliga title for Bayern Munich in remarkably similar fashion to Man City 11 years later.

Bayern went into the final match of the season expecting to clinch the league trophy for the third successive campaign, sitting as they were three points clear of second-placed Schalke 04 and facing a Hamburger side only a couple of places above the relegation zone but already safe from the drop.

The defending champions would have to lose and Schalke would need to beat Unterhaching for the Gelsenkirchen outfit to win the title for the first time since 1958.

Schalke were keeping up their end of the bargain with a 5-3 lead over their relegated opponents, and then they received the news they had been hoping for: Hamburg had scored in the 90th minute to take the lead against Bayern.

Such a late goal appeared to be final, and the Schalke supporters were so convinced that the title was theirs that they invaded the pitch and set off fireworks in euphoric celebration.

However, the Bayern match was still going on and, in the fourth minute of stoppage time, Andersson scored the title-winning goal from that rarest of football phenomena, an indirect free kick inside the box.

Incidentally this is the only goal on the list which was not part of a win for the team in question on the day, but the fact that it sealed yet another Bundesliga crown for Bayern qualifies it for a place.



4. Jimmy Glass - Carlisle United (vs. Plymouth Argyle)

Last-minute goals to win trophies live long in the memory for good reason, but sometimes matters at the other end of the league can be just as huge and there were none bigger than this one from Carlisle's loanee goalkeeper Jimmy Glass.

Injury-time strikes are dramatic enough at the best of times, but such goals from a goalkeeper are guaranteed to immediately take on iconic status.

Carlisle were heading out of the Football League going into the final day of the season, sitting bottom of the old Division Three and with their fate firmly out of their own hands ahead of their meeting with Plymouth Argyle.

The Cumbrians fell behind before drawing level at 1-1, but with relegation rivals Scarborough drawing at home to Peterborough United only a win would do.

Four minutes of injury time were signalled, and a late corner gave Carlisle the chance to pack the box. Glass - who was only signed as an emergency loan and made just three league appearances for the club - came up for it and duly made himself one of the most unlikely heroes in football history.

The ball broke to the goalkeeper, who bundled it home from close range to secure Carlisle's Football League status and send Scarborough down in the process.



3. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer - Manchester United (vs. Bayern Munich)

Manchester United have had many great nights in their illustrious history, but none quite like the 1999 Champions League final in Barcelona.

Sir Alex Ferguson's side were gunning for an unprecedented treble having already wrapped up the Premier League title and the FA Cup, and the best was yet to come as Bayern Munich awaited.

The German giants led for the best part of 85 minutes courtesy of Mario Basler's early goal, with United's hope growing slimmer by the second until they won a corner just as the fourth official indicated three minutes of injury time.

Substitute Teddy Sheringham scrambled home an equaliser to seemingly rescue extra time for United, but the drama had only just begun and Sheringham would go on to have another pivotal role moments later.

Less than 30 seconds after that goal United forced another corner, and from this one Sheringham nodded the ball on to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, who stuck out a toe to win the club their second European crown.

It remains the most incredible finale to a Champions League final ever, and proved to be the crowning glory of Ferguson's hugely successful time as United manager.



2. Michael Thomas - Arsenal (vs. Liverpool)

As incredible as United's turnaround was, a last-gasp goal at the very end of a long, hard league season will always top a one-off knockout match in cup competitions - hence our top two.

In effect, Arsenal's visit to Anfield in 1989 was a final - the Gunners knew that victory by two or more goals would see them win the title at their opponents' expense, whereas Liverpool simply needed to avoid that fate to clinch yet another top-flight crown.

The match was never intended to be the final game of the season, but the Hillsborough disaster just six weeks earlier had forced the contest to be postponed and rearranged for the end of the campaign.

Arsenal had not won at Anfield in their last 15 attempts, while Liverpool had not lost a home game by two clear goals or more for three years. The Reds therefore remained clear favourites to win the title, even when Alan Smith gave the visitors the lead after 52 minutes.

However, Michael Thomas stormed through the middle of the pitch in the 91st minute before slipping the ball past Bruce Grobbelaar to seal Arsenal's first title in 18 years.

The two clubs had finished level on points and goal difference, meaning that only Arsenal's superior record of goals scored saw them finish above Kenny Dalglish's side.

The moment has since been credited with sparking a change in English football as the hooligan-tarnished image of the 1980s made way to a new era in the game.



1. Sergio Aguero - Manchester City (vs. Queens Park Rangers)

It was hard to imagine anything topping the drama of 1989 - until Manchester City's 2012 title glory.

The 2011-12 Premier League season had already been full of twists and turns going into the final day, but Man City had a first top-flight title for 44 years within their grasp, thanks largely to victory over closest rivals Manchester United with three games to go.

To clinch the crown Man City simply needed to beat struggling QPR at home on the final day, while Manchester United faced Sunderland. The Red Devils held up their end of the bargain with a 1-0 victory over the Black Cats, but City appeared to have thrown it away when they trailed QPR 2-1 heading into injury time.

Only a win would do for Roberto Mancini's side, but the task looked so big that there were tears amongst the fans at the Etihad Stadium while United's supporters - and some players - celebrated at the Stadium of Light.

Edin Dzeko put the title party on hold with a goal back in the 91st minute, though, paving the way for the most remarkable finale ever seen in football.

Mario Balotelli, while on the floor, managed to nudge the ball into the path of Aguero, who somehow kept his composure to fire home and spark scenes of delirium, while their biggest rivals United were left devastated.

Both Manchester clubs finished level on points, meaning that for the first time ever the season was decided on goal difference as City were crowned champions of England for the first time since 1968.

The best moments are often accompanied by iconic commentary too, and the prolonged roar of Aguero's name is right up there with "Solskjaer has won it!" and "It's up for grabs now!"

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Liverpool celebrate Divock Origi's winning goal against Barcelona in the Champions League on May 7, 2019.
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TeamPWDLFAGDPTS
CLiverpool38323385335299
2Manchester CityMan City382639102356781
3Manchester UnitedMan Utd381812866363066
4Chelsea382061269541566
5Leicester CityLeicester381881267412662
6Tottenham HotspurSpurs3816111161471459
7Wolverhampton WanderersWolves381514951401159
8Arsenal381414105648856
9Sheffield UnitedSheff Utd381412123939054
10Burnley38159144350-754
11Southampton38157165160-952
12Everton381310154456-1249
13Newcastle UnitedNewcastle381111163858-2044
14Crystal Palace381110173150-1943
15Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton38914153954-1541
16West Ham UnitedWest Ham38109194962-1339
17Aston Villa3898214167-2635
RBournemouth3897224065-2534
RWatford38810203664-2834
RNorwich CityNorwich3856272675-4921

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