The beauty of sport lies in its romance, lies in its unpredictability and in its style. One of those three was evidently portrayed in quite possibly the biggest comeback in the history of the sport as Barcelona came back from 4-0 down in the first leg of the last-16 of the Champions League to beat PSG. During this period, they also circumvented a PSG away goal and scored three goals in seven minutes to turn the game on its head. Neymar’s brace right at the death and Sergi Roberto’s winner helped Luis Enrique’s team into the quarters once again.
Over in the other game on the night, Dortmund didn’t have to endure much drama and had an easy time dispatching Benfica with Aubameyang getting a hat-trick.
Champions League Updates, Barcelona vs PSG and Borussia Dortmund vs Benfica:
0317 hrs IST: FULL TIME! AND IT IS HARD TO DESCRIBE WHAT JUST HAPPENED AT CAMP NOU. THE TIE WAS HEADED BARCELONA’S WAY UNTIL SERGI ROBERTO SLID IN AND GOT A PIVOTAL GOAL TO CREATE HISTORY. BARCELONA WIN 6-1 ON THE NIGHT AND 6-5 ON AGGREGATE.
IN THE OTHER GAME, DORTMND HAVE IT EASY 4-0 AGAINST BENFICA THANKS TO AN AUBAMEYANG HAT-TRICK.
0314 hrs IST: GOAL! Ball inside the area and Sergi Roberto slides and right foots it in the roof of the goal. SCENES! Tears for some PSG fans. How has this game turned on its head? HOW!
0311 hrs IST: Five minutes added on. Five very tense minutes for PSG.
0310 hrs IST: PENALTY AND GOAL! Lionel Messi with a long ball and Marquinhos brings down Luis Suarez the intended recipient. Neymar steps up to take it and scores. MADNESS! 5-1 on the night and 5-5 on aggregate. FIVE-FIVE!
0307 hrs IST: GOAL! Neymar with a beautiful free kick. From the left and it has crept in from the near post. Poor from the keeper to let it go and it is now 4-1
0305 hrs IST: Di Maria with a chance to truly put the game to bed but he misses the target with Ter Stegen to beat and an on-rushing Mascherano to deal with. Shouts of a penalty are turned down
0304 hrs IST: GOAL!! Aubameyang gets a hat-trick and Dortmund keep the goal scoring going. They’re now 4-0 up and 4-1 on aggregate with full time approaching. It has been all Dortmund tonight though
0300 hrs IST: The mood within Camp Nou and within both teams has changed. PSG more confident on the ball now and Barcelona trying desperately to get a goal and still be competitive. Final Barcelona change as Andre Gomes replaces Ivan Rakitic
0255 hrs IST: Second change for Barcelona too as Sergi Roberto comes on to replace Rafinha
0252 hrs IST: PSG give away the ball cheaply and it falls to Messi who shimmies past the PSG defence. Drops the shoulder to move to his left and then gets a shot on but it goes across the face of goal. Second change for PSG as Julian Draxler goes off for Sergio Aurier.
0249 hrs IST: Neymar has a go from distance but he slips just as he tries to take the shot thus resulting in a timid effort that is not going to trouble Trapp. Barcelona’s quest for three goals continue…
0247 hrs IST: Suarez is booked for simulation as he goes down looking for a penalty.
0244 hrs IST: Change for Barcelona. Iniesta comes off for Arda Turan. The new man in has an immediate impact to get a shot on target but it is cleared off the line. The atmosphere inside the Camp Nou has turned completely post that goal.
0242 hrs IST: Cavani has another chance to make it two goals in quick period. Stays onside to receive a pass after another lapse in concentration by Barcelona. But he tries to slot it past Ter Stegen with a low right footed shot only for the Barcelona keeper to save it with an outstretched leg
0240 hrs IST: GOAL!! Edinson Cavani gives himself and the rest of the PSG team reason to smile and breathe for the first time tonight. Barcelona switch off for the first time after Ivan Rakitic gets booked. Cavani has time and the space to unleash a fierce right footed half volley into the roof of the net. Slots it in with the outside of the right foot
0237 hrs IST: PSG have a chance of sorts after a corner. The ball continues to move about in the Barcelona third and Cavani tries a half volley but doesn’t test Ter Stegen
0236 hrs IST: GOAL AND GOAL! Two quick goals in Dortmund and the German giants are running away with it. Pulisic first and then Aubameyang with the goals to make it 3-0 and 3-1 on aggregate. Looks like this tie is sealed. Unless Benfica have something to say in the next half hour
0233 hrs IST: First change for PSG. Lucas Moura is withdrawn and on comes Angel Di Maria amid some jeers due to his Real Madrid past.
0230 hrs IST: POST! Meunier with a cross from the right, it is drilled low and Cavani attacks it but his effort comes out of the upright and Barcelona survive an away goal.
0226 hrs IST: Neymar is brought down inside the area and the referee says no. But he consults with the ref behind the goal and changes his decision. PENALTY! Meunier stumbles and brings Neymar down with him. Messi steps up to take it and he converts it despite his poor record with the spot kicks. Trapp goes the right way but can’t prevent it from finding the back of the net. Barcelona are now, can you believe it, 3-0 up and 3-4 on aggregate. One goal away!
0223 hrs IST: Second half underway by PSG. They start much more positively with some intent from the get go. More of this required if they need to thwart Barcelona’s danger
0222 hrs IST: Barcelona to be cheered on by 96,290 which is the attendance for the game. Massive turnout despite the ask at hand but then again the spectacle is too big.
0214 hrs IST: If the defensive woes weren’t enough, PSG’s passing has been timid. Trying to get out of the cage almost when passing inside their own half but getting stuck in with Barcelona players prowling for the ball and winning back almost instantly. Just when they do clear the half way line, the passing is not clinical enough to create any chance to have a shot on target let alone any goal scoring opportunity
0211 hrs IST: PSG can half blame themselves for the two goals so far. Not switching on from the get go and allowing Luis Suarez to outjump Trapp and head it in but the second goal the bigger of the two gifts. Layvin Kurzawa not doing well to clear the danger away and then ends up putting the ball in the back of his own net. PSG needed to avoid such self-destructive play and yet here we are!
0207 hrs IST: Referee finally blows for the half time break and Barcelona lead 2-0 on the night and are 2-4 on aggregate. Need two more to produce the miracle and create history
0205 hrs IST: Three additional minutes played in Barcelona and PSG have somehow soaked in all the pressure but there have been raid after raid on this PSG box. Holding on for now.
0204 hrs IST: HALF TIME! It is half time in Dortmund where the Germans lead 1-0 at the break. 1-1 on aggregate against Benfica and if things stay this way, we’re headed for extra time
0202 hrs IST: Cavani gets booked despite being brought down by Pique. Asks the referee to book the Spaniard but ends up getting booked himself as he calls for the caution and the red card
0159 hrs IST: GOAL! Calamitous defending from PSG. Allowing too much time and space to Barcelona players inside their area. Error inside the area and Iniesta puts the ball back near the goal but it is Kurzawa who knees the ball into his own goal. 40 minutes played and Barcelona lead 2-0. Two goals there, two more to go!
0155 hrs IST: PSG with some concerns and this time Lucas Moura is on the deck. Had a collision some seconds back with an arm on his back which seemed to have brought him down. Gets some medical attention and is now back
0153 hrs IST: Luis Suarez has a really good chance as we pass the half hour mark. PSG give the ball away and Barcelona break. Ball comes to Suarez down the right but his shot is comfortably saved by Trapp. Stays 1-0 in Barcelona and 1-0 in Dortmund as well
0148 hrs IST: Chances at either ends of the goal. Lucas Moura gets a shot on target for PSG – their first of the night but it is an easy take for Ter Stegen. At the other end, Rafinha is on the counter but his right footed cross is tame and is easily cleared.
0147 hrs IST: Benfica nearly get an away goal out of nowhere against Dortmund. The Germans have had the lions share of possession but the Portuguese side get a little look in with Franco Cervi getting a shot on which is saved easily in the end
0142 hrs IST: Every time PSG try to get out of their half, a blaugrana shirt is quick to charge them down and take the ball away. Another rash challenge brings about another free kick chance near the area for Messi. This time it is blocked by the wall. Iniesta has a go from distance but the effort is always rising
0140 hrs IST: Yellow card now for Pique. Goes sliding recklessly and takes down Cavani near the touchline inside the PSG area. Rather needless to do that
0135 hrs IST: Neymar tries to curl it into the corner from outside the box and he nearly manages to do so. Trapp tries desperately to get a hand to it but he looks convinced that it was going wide. And it did go wide but not by much.
0132 hrs IST: Matuidi and Draxler already booked for PSG and will have to be careful from now on. Draxler with a late challenge from behind on Messi and that’s a free kick in a dangerous area for Barcelona. Messi stands over it but the left-footed shot is wide of the target. 1-0 with 15 minutes played
0129 hrs IST: Loud shout and appeal by PSG for a hand ball by Mascherano inside the box. Draxler tries to pull it back for a cross inside the area but a sliding Mascherano prevents that from happening. Gets his hand in the process and PSG call for a penalty. Referee says just a corner.
0122 hrs IST: GOAL!! And there’s an early goal in Dortmund too. Aubameyang has Dortmund ahead on the night and level on aggregate against Benfica.
0121 hrs IST: GOAL!! We’re off to a flier in Barcelona. Luis Suarez leaps highest inside the box with some weak defending by PSG early on and the Uruguayan capitalises on the chance. Heads it over the PSG keeper Trapp and it is 1-0 to Barcelona. This is Suarez’s happy hunting ground: He’s scored 65 goals in 64 games in all competitions at home for Barcelona. The deficit is cut by 1, three more to go…
0118 hrs IST: Third knockout between these two teams in five seasons. Barcelona went through in the last two instances. PSG have the momentum this time. And with that, Barcelona get the game underway!
0115 hrs IST: Players are on the pitch. Mosaic reads “Everyone with the team”. The Champions League anthem blares at the Camp Nou as Barcelona look to make the quarters for a record tenth straight year.
0103 hrs IST: Will this be end of the streak?
— Champions League (@ChampionsLeague) 8 March 2017
0039 hrs IST: Interesting lineup this by Luis Enrique. No wing backs with Jordi Alba and Sergi Roberto both not starting. That leaves it on to Rafinha and Mascherano to cover that side but the idea is clear – go out and attack. Messi will likely sit at the tip of the diamond midfield with Suarez, Iniesta and Neymar for company. Luis Enrique has maintained that his side can score six goals…
0035 hrs IST: Head-to-head in last 10 matches between Barcelona and PSG has seen four wins for the Catalans, three for PSG and three have been draws. Barca scored 16 while PSG bagged 15 goals.
0032 hrs IST: No Angel Di Maria because he was an injury doubt. Unai Emery at the pre-match press conference: “We need to be ready to do everything: Defend, attack, play together, cope when they are dominating and make them suffer.” And looks like his team would need to do that despite the margin in hand.
0029 hrs IST: TEAMS:
Borussia Dortmund vs Benfica:
Benfica XI: Ederson, Nélson Semedo, Luisão, Lindelöf, Eliseu, André Almeida, Samaris, Pizzi, Cervi, Salvio and Mitroglou
Dortmund XI: Bürki, Piszczek, Bartra, Sokratis, Schmelzer, Weigl, Castro, Dembélé, Pulisic, Durm, Aubameyang
Barcelona vs PSG:
Barcelona XI: Marc-Andre Ter Stegen; Gerard Pique, Javier Mascherano, Samuel Umtiti; Sergio Busquets, Andres Iniesta, Ivan Rakitic; Lionel Messi; Rafinha, Luis Suarez, Neymar
PSG XI: Kevin Trapp,Thomas Meunier, Marquinhos, Thiago Silva, Layvin Kurzawa, Marco Verratti, Blaise Matuidi, Adrien Rabiot, Julian Draxler, Lucas Moura, Edinson Cavani
0005 hrs IST: Hello and welcome to our live blog for the second leg of the last-16 in the UEFA Champions League. Barcelona have plenty to do at home to come back and beat PSG after losing 4-0 in Paris. No team has ever done that before – come from four goals down in the first leg to progress. Can history be made tonight? The other game on the night has Borussia Dortmund hosting Benfica. One German team is already in the quarters, will another join them? We’ll find out soon enough!