‘Mission Impossible’ made possible

Barcelona: Barcelona produced the mother of all comebacks in European football history to knock Paris St Germain out of the Champions League at the Nou Camp here Wednesday with a 6-1 victory that rewrote the record books.
No team had ever overturned a four-goal deficit in a knock-out tie, but Sergi Roberto’s added on time goal completed a 6-5 aggregate win that sparked delirious scenes of celebration inside the Nou Camp and sent Barca through to the last eight for the 10th time in succession.
Edinson Cavani looked to have wrecked Barcelona’s dreams by volleying in an away goal to make the score 3-1 but two late strikes from Neymar set up a thrilling finale before Roberto sealed the Spanish side’s unlikely triumph.
Barca took risks and that resulted in their victory. They kept regular left-back Jordi Alba on the bench to be more adventurous and that paid off.  
Barcelona began to believe in the impossible dream of clawing back their shock 0-4 loss from the first leg when Luis Suarez headed over the line in the third minute and a Layvin Kurzawa own goal gave them further hope before the break.
Lionel Messi’s penalty five minutes into the second period had the Nou Camp on its feet but Cavani’s strike in the 62nd was a sucker punch to Barca’s ambitions from which Luis Enrique’s side took a while to recover.
A curled free-kick from Neymar in the 88th minute gave them hope and the Brazilian converted a penalty before substitute Roberto slid in to knock the ball beyond Kevin Trapp from a chipped free- kick and send Barca through.
An electric atmosphere gripped the Nou Camp before kick-off after Suarez and Luis Enrique had said they truly believed a comeback was on and the players caught the wave of optimism by swarming all over PSG from the first whistle.
Trapp struggled to cope with the early pressure and flapped at a high ball, allowing Suarez to jump ahead of him and force the ball over the line.
The Catalans owed their second to another piece of slack defending, however, as Andres Iniesta nudged his way past Marquinhos in the area to knock the ball back into the danger zone and it bounced off the swinging leg of Kurzawa and into the far corner. PSG riled Barca supporters by coming back on to the pitch after the break a few minutes late but the Nou Camp was soon celebrating a third as Messi powered a penalty past Trapp after Neymar had been tripped by Thomas Meunier.
Cavani hit the post but made amends by smashing a loose ball home, although he should have added another but was denied by the feet of Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
At the time it did not look to be a crucial miss but Barca had other ideas, scoring three times in six minutes to complete an incredible comeback.

Game supporters will never forget: Enrique

Barcelona’s amazing 6-1 victory over Paris St Germain (PSG) here Wednesday that sent them through to the Champions League quarterfinals will forever stay in the memories of supporters, coach Luis Enrique said after the game.
“Any child in the Nou Camp tonight (Wednesday) will never forget this and neither will the adults. This is a unique sport for crazy people,” Luis Enrique told reporters.
“This is a night which is difficult to explain in words, it had the script of a horror film with a spectacular start with an atmosphere which I have never seen in the Nou Camp, with tension I have never seen before,” he added.
No side in 61 years of the European Cup had ever gone through after losing the first leg of a knock-out tie by four goals and Luis Enrique paid tribute to the fans who stood by the team after their harrowing defeat at the Parc des Princes in Paris.
“I would like to thank everyone who kept their faith after we lost 0-4. This is dedicated to them because this isn’t the Harlem Globetrotters, this is football,” he said, referring to the famous American exhibition basketball team. “I don’t think anyone stopped believing. We risked everything and it paid off.”
Barca forward Neymar said it was the best performance of his career, in which he has won the Champions League and an Olympic gold medal with Brazil.
“It’s the best game I’ve played in my life, because of the whole story, the goals and for what it means to the team,” Neymar told BeIN sports.
Gerard Pique, meanwhile, predicted a surge in the birth rate in Catalonia. “I advise the hospitals of Barelona to start hiring nurses because a lot of love is going to be made tonight,” Pique joked.

Reuters

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