Barcelona completed the greatest comeback in Champions League history in the most improbable fashion with three goals in the final seven minutes to defeat Paris Saint-Germain 6-1 to progress to the quarter finals of the Champions League 6-5 on aggregate.
Neymar scored in the 88th and 90th minutes before Sergi Roberto completed the comeback for the ages in the final minute, all coming after an early trio of goals from Barcelona before Edinson Cavani had seemingly sent PSG passage to the quarterfinals with a score just after the hour mark.
It will be a match that long lives in Barcelona lore, and 20 years from now millions will claim they were inside the Camp Nou on what was one of the most magical nights for one of Europe’s most storied clubs.
If any club in Europe come back from a 4-0 deficit it was Barcelona so it was to no one’s surprise that manager Luis Enrique went with an attack-heavy starting XI. His 3-4-3 lineup had a midfield where Andres Iniesta and Rafinha manned the left and right wings, respectively, while Sergio Busquets and Ivan Rakitic were anchored in the middle. Meanwhile, the presence of three centre-backs in defense meant that right-back Sergi Roberto and left-back Jordi Alba were left to watch from the bench.
The Camp Nou was rocking inside three minutes when PSG’s deep-lying defense dealt very poorly with a bouncing ball in the area and Suarez rose highest to flip a header over PSG goalkeeper Kevin Trapp that crossed the goalline by inches to give Barcelona a 1-0 lead in the match and tighten PSG’s aggregate advantage to 4-1.
After the initial wobble, PSG managed to push back a bit and Julian Draxler had a shout for a penalty when the ball struck Javier Mascherano’s arm on an attempted cross. But overall Unai Emery continued to have his team sitting back and staying compact with two lines of four, reducing Barcelona to speculative efforts from outside.
Just when PSG were starting to play their most positive football of the night, another defensive error from their defence gift-wrapped another goal for Barcelona, and suddenly the 4-0 aggregate was cut in half to 4-2. Marquinhos failed to deal with a ball with Iniesta bearing down, and the Spanish midfielder’s innocent pass was flubbed by Kurzawa, who deposited the ball into his own net for the goal.
PSG played with a higher press to start the second-half in hopes of wrestling back some control, but yet again they were unraveled by a mistake in the back and it led to Barcelona’s third score. Iniesta played a short ball for Neymar to run onto but the Brazilian was taken down by the fallen Meunier. After a delay, the linesman indicated to the referee that it was a penalty, and Messi slammed in the spot kick to make it 4-3 on aggregate.
Emery’s men finally looked to respond and a fine run from Meunier down the right set up Edinson Cavani at the near post, but the Uruguayan banged the shot off the post. With a wave of noise cascading down from the stands, Barcelona were brimming with confidence and the impossible was now just a goal away. Emery was desperate for something positive, so Angel di Maria was brought on for Lucas Moura, and immediately PSG improved.
And just after the hour mark the visitors secured the precious away goal when a long ball was hoofed up to Kurzawa, who played a knocked down header to Cavani and this time the former Napoli man connected to make it 3-1 in the match and 5-3 on aggregate.
Cavani then could have completely wrapped things up minutes later but when the pressure was on, he once again failed to deliver, seeing his shot well saved by Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
Needing three goals in 25 minutes, Luis Enrique put all of his chips on the table, bringing Arda Turan on for Iniesta and Sergi Roberto for Rafinha, while PSG were content to sit back and wait to expose Barcelona on the counter.
Barcelona never gave up and kept pushing even as the minutes ticked away. Neymar offered a glimmer of hope with an exquisite free kick just minutes from full-time that cut the aggregate to 5-4.
The Camp Nou sprang to life and a minute later they roared when the referee pointed to the spot when Marquinhos brought down Suarez in the area. Neymar coolly converted the penalty and in the blink of an eye, the aggregate was 5-5.
And then, the improbable. 6-5. Deep into stoppage time, with Ter Stegen pushed up into attack, Neymar floated a ball into the area, and the most unlikeliest of heroes, Sergi Roberto, connected with the tip of his boot to re-direct a shot past Trapp and sent the Camp Nou, at least those fans who had not left early, into utter pandemonium in celebration of the greatest comeback in European club history.