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What were the major refereeing errors that helped Barcelona beat PSG 6-1?

In a refereeing report seen by EFE, José María Enríquez Negreira found major officiating errors in Barça’s 2017 Champions League win over PSG.

In a refereeing report seen by EFE, José María Enríquez Negreira found major officiating errors in Barça's 2017 Champions League win over PSG.
Diario AS

As Barcelona face another double header against Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League, we reflect on a huge scandal between the two clubs just a few years ago. A refereeing report compiled for Barcelona by José María Enríquez Negreira and his son, Javier Enríquez, acknowledged that key officiating errors were made in the Blaugrana’s favour in their memorable European comeback against PSG.

The document appeared among court files seen by Spanish news agency EFE amid the ongoing investigation into Barça’s relationship with Negreira, who is the former vice-president of Spain’s referees’ committee, the body that governs soccer officiating in the country.

Barça fightback helped by two incorrect penalty decisions, Negreira says

In March 2017, Barça beat PSG 6-1 in the second leg of the teams’ UEFA Champions League last-16 tie, in the process overturning a 4-0 deficit from the opening leg. Current PSG boss Luis Enrique was then in the Barça dugout.

According to analysis offered by Negreira and his son in their report, there were two particular errors made by Deniz Aytekin, the referee for the return leg at the Camp Nou: the German’s failure to award a penalty against Barça in the 84th minute, and his decision to give the Catalans a spot-kick five minutes later.

The report says Aytekin should have pointed to the spot when Barça’s Javier Mascherano “caught [… PSG’s Ángel] di María, denying him a clear goalscoring chance in the Barcelona area”. Not only should a foul have been given, the document says, but Aytekin should also have sent Mascherano off.

On the penalty awarded to Barça shortly afterwards, when Aytekin deemed that striker Luis Suárez had been fouled in the PSG box, the report says the Uruguayan “makes the most of light chest contact to go down”. The correct decision, Negreira says, would have been to wave away Barça’s penalty appeals. Neymar converted from 12 yards to make it 5-1, before Sergi Roberto’s 95th-minute goal won the tie for the hosts.

The report also describes an earlier penalty won by Barça, after Neymar was adjudged to have been fouled in the area, as “harsh”. Lionel Messi scored from the spot to give the home team a 3-0 lead on the night.

Barça facing corruption charges over Negreira relationship

Corruption charges were filed against Barcelona, and former club presidents Sandro Rosell and Josep Maria Bartomeu, over €7m in payments made by the 26-time Spanish champions to Negreira during his time as the VP of the referees’ committee.

In a statement, the club said they had paid for “technical reports relating to professional refereeing”, describing this as “a common practice among professional football clubs”.

However, it is alleged that Barça also colluded with Negreira to gain preferential treatment from referees in domestic soccer. According to prosecutors in Spain, the club reached a “confidential verbal agreement” with the 77-year-old whereby he would “undertake actions designed to favour Barcelona in referees’ decision-making” in matches played by the club in the Spanish game.