There were long odds on Barcelona going through, and the bolder punters got their reward. Shorn of their chief weapon, Leo Messi - who had a poor game - Barça found allies in Paris Saint-Germain's stage fright and the referee, who they'll not forget about in a hurry in the French capital, to pull off a record 6-1 comeback that's now the talk of the globe. They got themselves 2-0 up in good time - thanks to the nerves of a PSG side who virtually did more to that end than their hosts. Then, with the second 45 underway, they scored the third with a pretty iffy penalty, before Edinson Cavani seemed to scotch any prospects of a turnaround. But from the 88th minute onwards, deep into 'Cesarini time', three goals arrived in a crazy finish.
A helping hand from the man in the middle
An incredible ending that those who were in attendance at the Camp Nou will remember forever. It's undoubtedly true, however, that it required the award of a non-existent spot-kick for the fifth goal, which opened the door to the completion of the comeback. Not long beforehand, the ref had overlooked a foul in the area by Javier Mascherano on Ángel Di María, who was caught just as he was pulling the trigger when in on Marc-André ter Stegen. And in the first half, the defender had got away with a handball in the box that was also a contentious call. What with the two penalties he did give and the two he didn't at the other end, Deniz Aytekin's home bias proved decisive. The German brought to mind Tom Henning Ovrebo.
Neymar exceptional as Roberto seals comeback
In all honesty, Aytekin contributed what Messi, who had a strangely weak night, was unable to. In contrast, Neymar was phenomenal; always probing on his flank, a constant danger in attack, he won Barça's first penalty (which was at least conceivable) - and scored two: a sublime free-kick into the top corner and the second spot-kick, converted amid huge tension and with the clock ticking into time added on. With PSG quaking in their boots (as was the case pretty much throughout), the sixth quickly followed courtesy of Sergi Roberto, that patient youth product who's on hand for whatever's asked of him and who, with his goal, goes down in history. His is the crowning image of a comeback that's not without question marks.