I have to write this before neutrality takes over me. Its Friday night and reports about the epic game between Barcelona and PSG on Wednesday night don’t stop coming. I know that my blog is one of the 1000 different ones out by now, but honestly this one will probably give you a more diverse view on such a fantastic night. Barcelona is now the king of comebacks and gave us all a magical moment that we will remember for years to come; now lets begin.
(Luis Enrique pre match press conference)
The Game had weird build up, after the defeat in Paris the team was able to recover with a showcase of games in La Liga. What followed was Luis Enrique’s announcement saying that he will quit the team at the end of the season; it was roller coaster of emotions to say the least. The Barcelona clan limited their exposure to the media before the mandatory pre game post conferences. It was a smart idea; after all they needed all the concentration possible if they wanted to make the comeback happen. The long awaited day had arrived and the whole world was with nothing but hope. The only thing that killed the dream of the comeback was the harsh truth, if PSG scored at any given point of the game then the dream was more than over. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one that felt that the impossible would be more possible than ever so I decided to skip class and be part of what would become the most emotional and historic games ever witnessed.The starting XI for Barcelona was a big surprise. They decided to play with a 3-4-3 formation without Jordi Alba having Messi play in midfield alongside Rakitić, Busquets and Iniesta giving space for Rafinha to be alongside Neymar and Suarez up front. PSG in the other had Thiago Silva back in defense but had lost Di Maria due to injury. The mission wasn’t totally impossible since they would have to score four goals in order to force extra time as long as PSG did not score. Having Cavani as your rival is a big headache you can ask any team that was defeated by his talents, sadly Barcelona would pay the price but more on that later.
Barcelona enjoyed a dream start to the game after Suarez scored in the 3rd minute so people saw that a miracle was now more realistic than ever before. What did I think? Honestly I was as cold as ice from start to finish. Barcelona didn’t display the fluency that they showed on previous games but they were keeping PSG in their own half so it was a good sign. When Iniesta provided his touch of magic for the second goal in the 40th minute the comeback was ours, all we needed was two goals in the second half and we would surely beat an unresponsive PSG. When half time arrived we could expect two things, either Barcelona would keep the intensity going or PSG would finally wake up and start playing like they did in France. The second half was by far the most stressful 45 minutes I’ve lived in my life.
Everything started after a very debatable foul against Neymar. In real time it looked like the foul was intentional so it was a deserved penalty. Messi would step up and score and by the 50th minute we were one goal short of achieving the impossible. I had decided to stay home and watch the game by myself so my excitement was trough the roof after the penalty. Sadly the dream would only last 10 minutes because Cavani caught the Barcelona defense sleeping. I must say it was a fantastic strike that by the 62nd minute ended the dream and forced Barcelona to score 6 goals in the space of 25 minutes. I was the first one to write them off after such a horrible mistake. The game took a dramatic turn after it and to make this more dramatic the hero of the night would come off the bench at the 75th minute in place of Rafinha who honestly didn’t do much throughout the game. The game then reached a turning point when Neymar scored from a free kick at the 88th minute; even then I didn’t see how Barcelona would find a way around it but ill never forget what a friend had texted me 10 minutes earlier “they are playing with heart so a lot can happen until the ref finishes the game”. Let me just say he was right, shorty after the sideline official signaled the addition of 5 minutes another penalty was awarded for Barcelona. It was a foul wasn’t it? Again I must say there was little contact against Suarez but it was enough for it to be a clear foul if you saw it without a replay. It was at that moment when my soul returned, fearful of Messi’s bad penalty run I was hoping that Suarez would step up and take the penalty. Nope, it was Neymar who would score and put us level at 5-5 in the aggregate score against PSG with 2 minutes to go…
(Messi coming up for the penalty)
There was no time to waste! Barcelona would stay in PSG’s own half waiting for a corner kick style of play. The effort would be paid off thanks to Ter Steggen ‘s miracle tackle to keep the ball from going to our own half. What happened next would be unthinkable; after steggen was fouled a free kick was given and that would obviously be the last play of the game, but to make things worst they were the last 60 seconds of the whole game. Neymar would provide the most dramatic free kick in Champions League history, but how? Instead of sending it directly towards goal he decides to make a second play and avoiding a really close tackle that would have made him the villain if that happened. He sends the ball up high and to the area only to find Sergi Roberto at the end of it to tap it into the net! And just like that Barcelona pulled off the impossible; they managed to beat PSG 6-5 and made it to the quarterfinals in the most dramatic way possible! . The world and myself were in a state of disbelief and happiness as we saw the ref blow the whistle that signal the end of the game. I honestly don’t know how I managed to post a snapchat video at that moment but I did and I was also glad I was able to witness such a moment. After all they do say YOU ONLY LIVE ONCE, so I’m one of the many that will say that were able to see the greatest team in the world set a Champions league record that will be unbreakable for many years. I can conclude this blog by saying that regardless of how bad the referee was Barcelona showed a fighting spirit from start to finish and that alone gives them all the credit for such a fantastic victory. What now? I really don’t know but if you ask me I think Barcelona already won the champions league on Wednesday night!
(Sergi Roberto’s moment of glory)