‘Unreal’ – The best Premier League comeback win in 20 years

On a night when all eyes were on the Champions League, the Premier League witnessed its biggest comeback win in more than 20 years.

Away from the television cameras and the drama in Madrid and Dortmund, Bournemouth and Luton played out one of the most extraordinary Premier League matches of this or any recent season.

Bournemouth won 4-3 , having been three goals down at the break.

Dominic Solanke’s exquisite turn and finish started the comeback five minutes after half-time, and after Illia Zabarnyi bundled in a header for 2-3, Antoine Semenyo completed the comeback with a pair of powerful finishes – the second with only six minutes remaining.

“It’s unreal,” Semenyo told BBC Match of the Day. “It is an achievement of mine just playing in the Premier League so to get a winning goal for the team, I’m buzzing.”

It meant Bournemouth became only the fifth team in Premier League history to win a match in which they trailed by three goals, and just the third to do so in a game where they were 3-0 down at half-time.

The others to achieve this feat were Manchester United in beating Spurs 5-3 in September 2001 and Wolves v Leicester in October 2003 .

According to Semenyo, there was no half-time tirade from Bournemouth manager Andoni Iraola at half-time. In fact he seemed to say very little to his team, as the Cherries were out for the second half early – so early in fact that it caught the forward off guard.

“I was on the bike actually when everyone was running out so I had to scurry out quickly. It was because we were ready to go and put a performance on for the fans and for ourselves.”

Semenyo said Iraola “is very calm and collected”.

“He just came in and said, ‘Look we are going to have to go for it, go man for man and show some personality’, and we did that,” he added.

‘Everyone started believing’

Antoine Semenyo

More importantly for Iraola’s side than any Premier League record, this result surely confirms their status as a top flight team for another season.

Bournemouth, with 10 matches remaining, are 14 points above the relegation zone – their points total puts them closer to the top six than the bottom three.

“Everything went for Luton in the first half, they were really clinical, every time they arrived [in the box] they scored,” Iraola told the BBC.

“We needed something to happen early in the second half, the first goal from Dom [Solanke] was key. Then everyone started believing, we kept putting up the pressure and in the end we came back.

“We wanted to get back playing as soon as possible. We ended the first half feeling very bad, they had just scored a third goal. We changed some things, made adjustments, changed some players.

“From there we attacked much better and then the goals came from that point onwards.”

For Luton, this was another heartbreaking tale in a season where they have won the admiration of many neutral fans.

But now, with just 10 matches remaining, they need significantly more than goodwill and hard luck.

‘I’ve got to take responsibility’

Japanese international defender Daiki Hashioka signed for Luton in January and, making his maiden league start here, was given twisted blood by Solanke before he scored Bournemouth’s first, and was too easily beaten by Semenyo for the equaliser.

Luton missed several chances to clear a corner before Zabarnyi’s goal, while the winner came after they lost possession in their own half.

These are the small battles and individual moments that are going against the Hatters. It is in these battles that the war against relegation is won or lost.

“Of course I’ve got to take responsibility,” Luton boss Rob Edwards told the BBC.

“We went 3-0 up, then we gave them encouragement. They have brilliant quality, especially in one v one situations, and we didn’t defend those moments well enough. Lots for us to look back at and dissect.”

Luton have now scored in 16 consecutive top flight games – a club record – but are one of only two Premier League sides not to keep an away clean sheet this season. Sheffield United are the others.

That duality was shown in a first half in which they produced some slick, cutting football to score three goals – but still gave Bournemouth chances, with Luis Sinisterra denied twice by keeper Thomas Kaminski.

Bournemouth finally made something of those chances in the second half, and the tide turned.

“We played really well but the warning signs were still there,” Edwards said of their first half. “They are a good team and there were still some things we were unhappy with at half time.

“We gave them the encouragement, the crowd got up and we have to defend those situations a lot better.”

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