Barcelona were well and truly done for after the first leg. Surely after a 4-0 loss away in Paris to a much improved PSG, they were headed out of the UEFA Champions League. No one had confidence in them, save their brave supporters. And even then you’d have to question how they truly felt. But if there was just one team on the planet that could pull it off, then we all knew it’d be the Catalan giants. And it was to be on this special night in Europe’s top club competition.
Barcelona got off to a great start by scoring inside three minutes. It wasn’t the prettiest goal in Barcelona’s storied history, but Luis Suarez’s header counted the same as any other goal. PSG’s frenzied attack was silenced throughout the first half as they sat back and defended deeply. That would cost them again when Andres Iniesta caused Layvin Kurzawa to wildly swing his foot at the ball, causing an own goal, and for the stadium to go up in raptures. They were half way there could the interval.
It was truly Barcelona’s night, many believed when they got the third through a Lionel Messi penalty just five minutes after the break. Barcelona needed just one goal, and they surely had all of the momentum. But a twist in the tale came when Edinson Cavani lashed home a volley after 62 minutes. What followed was the most remarkable fight back in the history of European football. Barcelona never stopped fighting, and they got their reward with another penalty, which was scored by Neymar after 88 minutes. The night wasn’t over yet, though, as he would also score from a free kick two minutes later.
This set up a frantic finish that saw Barcelona desperately throwing everyone- including goalkeeper Marc Andre ter Stegen- forward in an attempt to bundle the ball home. The Camp Nou crowd eventually willed the ball into the back of the net in the 5th minute of extra time when substitute Sergi Roberto threw his entire body at the ball and directed it past German goalkeeper Kevin Trapp. They had done it.
For Barcelona, this was not expected. Sure, they were always favored to win the leg. But to do this is an amazing feat that will have people singing their praises. Weeks ago, they were finished as a team. Now, they have hope. Luis Enrique’s whole tenure will be remembered differently now thanks to 90 magical minutes of football.
PSG have now fallen by the wayside, and they will be the ones with egg on their face. This humiliation should see heads roll in the French capital. This is an unacceptable result for any side in this stage of the competition, much less a side with as much money and such a lead. If Unai Emery manages to save his job for now, he will surely lose it if he doesn’t find a way past AS Monaco in domestic competition.
But let’s not lose sight of the bigger picture. Wednesday’s match is an instant classic that will go down in history. It’s a real ‘where were you’ type of moment, and people will be talking about this for ages. This is on par, if not above, the night Liverpool came back from three goals down to beat Milan in Istanbul in the final. And remember the night Ferguson’s Manchester United scored twice in the dying embers of the match to win the final from under Bayern’s noses? That night was in Barcelona, too, but this one will eclipse them all!