Benitez's Dalian Pro are on receiving end of Istanbul-style comeback

Rafa Benitez’s Dalian Pro side are on the receiving end of an Istanbul-style comeback as they throw away three-goal lead to lose 4-3 on aggregate to Guangzhou R&F in the Chinese Super League play-offs… leaving them 12th in the table

  • Rafa Benitez got a taste of his own medicine during the Chinese Super League
  • Benitez’s Dalian Pro side let a three-goal lead slip against Guangzhou R&F
  • After 3-0 loss in first leg, Guangzhou turned the tide by winning 4-0 in return leg
  • Chen Zhizhao bundled home a dramatic extra-time winner for Guangzhou

When you reflect on Rafa Benitez’s time at Liverpool, the highlight of his reign is the Miracle of Istanbul as his side defied the odds to come back from three goals down to beat AC Milan in the Champions League final in 2005.

But now managing in China, Benitez got a taste of his own medicine as his Dalian Pro side incredibly let a huge advantage slip against Guangzhou R&F on Tuesday.

Benitez’s side took a 3-0 advantage home with them ahead of the second leg of their play-off tie, to decide who would finish 11th and 12th respectively in the Chinese Super League.

Rafa Benitez’s Dalian Pro were on the receiving end of an astonishing comeback on Tuesday

Chen Zhizhao bundles home the winner as Guangzhou R&F sealed their incredible comeback

Guangzhou celebrate after coming from three goals behind to win 4-3 on aggregate

But what came next was extraordinary as the visitors netted three goals during normal time to level the aggregate score at 3-3, before remarkably grabbing an extra-time winner in the second leg.

The defeat, which will leave a bitter taste in the mouth of Benitez, ensured that Dalian Pro had to settle with a 12th-placed finish in the Chinese Super League. 

Ye Chugui began Guangzhou’s comeback with a header in the 10th minute after following up on a rebound to get on the scoresheet.

Guangzhou then doubled their advantage on Tuesday in the 72nd minute thanks to another header, this time from Dusko Tosic off a corner kick.

Then it was the time for substitute Chen Zhizhao to announce himself in style. 

Guangzhou made the perfect start to the second leg after going 1-0 ahead in the 10th minute

Guangzhou then made it 2-0 in the 72nd minute through a header from a corner

Zhizhao scores the first of his two goals with a header after coming on as a substitute

Zhizhao made the perfect impact to head home with four minutes of normal time remaining before he completed the astonishing comeback.

With Guangzhou desperately pushing forward, Zhizhao then bundled home an extra-time winner after a fine team move down the left.

The ball was crossed into his path in the penalty area and after seeing his initial effort well saved, he inadvertently bundled home the all-important goal off his chest.

The goal was checked for offside by VAR but after an anxious wait, the winner was confirmed meaning Giovanni van Bronckhorst’s side sealed their memorable comeback.

It has been a poor season for Benitez after he just about averted Dalian Pro from relegation from the Chinese Super League. 

Benitez celebrates after Liverpool’s incredible comeback in the 2005 Champions League final

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