FC Barcelona pulled off the single most stunning comeback in UEFA Champions League history on Wednesday, rallying back from a 4-0 first-leg deficit against PSG to win the second leg of their Round of 16 clash 6-1 and advance 6-5 on aggregate.
Most stunningly, Barcelona needed — and then scored — three goals in the final seven minutes to win the match.
Entering the game, Barcelona would need four goals to tie PSG on aggregate to just force extra time. They got off to a fast start, and took a 2-0 lead into halftime. They tallied a third early in the second half to go up 3-0 leaving them one goal away from levelling the slate.
But then striker Edinson Cavani got one back for PSG, a crucial away goal, which meant Barcelona would need three to win, based on PSG holding the tiebreaker with more away goals. That situation stood until the 88th minute, leaving even most optimistic Barςa supporters thinking their dream was over.
But then the impossible happened: Barcelona scored three times in seven minutes to stun PSG and reach the Champions League quarterfinal.
Let’s break this down:
In the 88th minute, up 3-1 but needing three goals, a Barcelona victory looked impossible. Then, everything changed with this perfect Neymar free kick:
Two goals to go!
Just two minutes later, Luis Suarez forced a penalty when he was dragged down in the box. Neymar stepped up to the line and slotted the ball home, putting the score at 4-1 and 5-5 on aggregate.
Only more more now! (Again, that Cavani away goal proved crucial, because away goals in the Champions League are the tiebreaker, meaning that if the final whistle had sounded, PSG would have advanced.)
Then, the refs announced five total minutes of stoppage time — an eternity. Barcelona sent all 11 players forward, including goalie Marc Andre Ter Stegen, and in the 94th minute a ball lofted into the PSG box found the foot of Sergi Roberto. He redirected it into the back of the net, and Barca led, 5-1 now, and, somehow, 6-5 on aggregate.
Barcelona’s entire team mobbed the field, and fans in the crowd were seen weeping. When PSG restarted after the goal, the final whistle sounded.
Champions League fans will surely recall Liverpool’s stunning comeback against AC Milan in the 2005 final, when they came back from a 3-0 halftime deficit to win.
But Barcelona’s comeback was even more wild than that, because it required a bigger deficit (four goals) and, again, three goals in seven minutes.
With the win, Barςa advances once more to the Champions League quarterfinal. If a 4-0 first-leg deficit isn’t enough to beat them, it’s hard to imagine what will.
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