UEFA left face red as blunder forces reshuffle
Real Madrid ended up paying the highest price for the failed UEFA Champions League draw.
Real were paired with Paris Saint-Germain in the round of 16 on Tuesday (AEDT) after UEFA had to redo the entire draw following a mistake the first time around. The Spanish club were initially drawn against Portuguese club Benfica but faced attack from PSG superstar Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe and Neymar.
Manchester United were initially paired with Villarreal but the English club should not have been placed in that bowl as the two advanced from the same group. United were then paired with PSG, but the English club were not mistakenly included among possible opponents for Atletico Madrid when they should have been. This oversight meant that the entire print had to be redone. Atletico and Man United were then paired in the second draw.
“Following a technical issue with the software of an external service provider that tells officials which teams are eligible to compete, a material error occurred during the UEFA Champions round of 16 draw League, “UEFA said in a statement. .
Only one of the eight duos turned out to be identical in both processes: defending champions Chelsea facing Lille. Bayern Munich will face Salzburg, who are making their debut at this point, in place of their original opponents Atletico. Liverpool had been paired with Salzburg but were later drawn to Inter Milan.
The other round of 16 are: Sporting Lisbon against Manchester City, Benfica against Ajax and Villarreal against Juventus.
The first legs will be played in two in the middle of the week from February 15 to 23. The return matches will take place from March 8 to 16.
The second draw ceremony opened with an apology from UEFA tournament director Giorgio Marchetti. The draw meant the competition lost a stellar clash between Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. But the exhibition game still involves PSG, who were by far the best side among the finalists in the group that made up the pot of unranked teams.