On 87 minutes, Barcelona needed three goals to beat PSG to the quarterfinals of the 2016/17 UEFA Champions League; and they achieved it.
That spectacle is the major reason why football is the world’s game because it continues to amaze, excite and surprise.
It was meant to be another bad chapter in the departure of Luis Enrique, but it became a magical night; and the truth be told, Barcelona were not very good on the night – PSG were just plain fearful and their wildest nightmare manifested.
With just seconds on the clock and Neymar with the ball in midfield, what led to PSG players trying to set Barcelona players offside? The sane decision would have been to just defend the ball and ensure its clearance. But no, they had to go AWOL.
And that is where football romance kicked in as one of the Barcelona players that had been thoroughly derided for his performance in the Valentine Day massacre, Sergi Roberto, became the hero with a flick over Kevin Trapp.
At the post-match conference, Gerard Pique, who became an auxiliary forward as Barca pushed for the winner said, “Hospitals need to hire more nurses in the next 9 months because tonight a lot of lovemaking will be happening.”
That may be going too far but the joy of the Catalans would need some outlet for the next three days.
Marca reported that, “The madness at the stadium continued 30 minutes after the end of the game, with many supporters remaining in the emptying terraces. The famous ground was a boiler on the night and Paris Saint-Germain ultimately burned up as Barcelona celebrated a historic comeback.”
Enrique spoke about the abiding faith the team held on to even when there seemed to be no more time to hope. “The joy we gave to all Barca fans is dedicated to all those who had faith, who supported us each day, especially in the tough moments, after losing in Paris.”
“The key was the faith in the team and the fans right until the 95th minute. We started really well, constantly recovering the ball, but not many clear chances on goal. But defensively, despite all risks taken, we pulled off a near perfect game.”
It was indeed a perfect game for the lovers of the game – one that helps to discountenance the bad refereeing, racism and what money is ultimately doing to the game. Wednesday night at the Nou Camp was all about the love of the game.