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Barcelona Defeats Paris-St. Germain In Stunning Champions League Comeback

Mar 9, 2017
Originally published on March 11, 2017 8:40 am
Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Remember when the New England Patriots came back from 25 points down to win the Super Bowl? Yeah, that was a piece of cake compared to what happened in the world of soccer yesterday.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Here, I'll set it up. The Champions League tournament - Barcelona versus Paris Saint-Germain. Paris Saint-Germain were big underdogs. They'd never won this tournament before. Meanwhile, Barcelona are basically the Patriots. They've won it four times in recent years.

CORNISH: At this stage of the tournament, the teams play each other twice. The goals from both games get added together, and the club that scores the most overall moves on to the quarter finals. And in the first game, the French team surprised many by winning big against the Spaniards four to nothing.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED ANNOUNCER #1: And one of the greatest occasions in Paris Saint-Germain's history - this. Make no mistake about it.

SIEGEL: That meant Barcelona had to score five more goals than Paris Saint-Germain in the next game, or they'd be done. And for anyone who's ever sat through a nil-nil finish, you know how rare goals can be in soccer.

CORNISH: Last night, the two teams faced off again, and Barcelona clawed their way to a 5-to-1 lead, but winning by four wasn't enough. They needed one more goal. And so it came down to the final frantic seconds.

SIEGEL: A cluster of players jockeying for position near the Saint-Germain goal. One of Barcelona's superstars, Neymar, lofted the ball just over their heads. And the unlikeliest of heroes - a guy who hadn't played at all in the first half named Sergi Roberto - timed it perfectly. He stuck out his foot and volleyed the ball toward the net.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED ANNOUNCER #2: It's a stretch, and it's in. And I can't remember the last time I saw something like this.

(CHEERING)

CORNISH: The moment sounded a little different in Spanish.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED ANNOUNCERS: (Yelling in Spanish).

SIEGEL: And it was downright heartbreaking in French.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

UNIDENTIFIED ANNOUNCER #3: (Speaking French).

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN: (Laughter).

UNIDENTIFIED ANNOUNCER #4: C'est pas possible. C'est pas possible. C'est pas possible.

SIEGEL: C'est pas possible. It's not possible.

CORNISH: Nice try, PSG. Thanks to that stunning comeback, Barcelona is on to the quarterfinals in the Champions League.

(SOUNDBITE OF LL COOL J SONG, "MAMA SAID KNOCK YOU OUT") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.