Barcelona celebrates 'miracle' upset over PSG

Kieran CANNING
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Barcelona players pile onto Sergi Roberto after his winning goal in the Champions League match against Paris Saint-Germain at the Nou Camp stadium on March 8, 2017

Joyous Barcelona fans mobbed Neymar and Lionel Messi, while Paris Saint-Germain counterparts vented their fury Thursday after Barca's sensational 6-1 victory produced the greatest upset in Champions League history.

Trailing 4-0 going into the last 16 game, Neymar scored two of the three amazing goals in the final seven minutes that sent the nearly 100,000 crowd into raptures. The whole football world was stunned.

Adoring, disbelieving fans surrounded Messi's car as he tried to get away from the Camp Nou stadium after the 6-5 aggregate triumph.

Paris Saint-Germain players left the field in tears. When they arrived back in France, dozens of cursing fans waited in the pre-dawn dark. Police started an investigation after the sports car of defender Thiago Motta hit and injured a fan as the player drove away.

No team has overcome a four goal first leg deficit in the Champions League and Barcelona newspaper Sport declared on its front page "You have become legends." El Mundo daily called it the "miracle of a lifetime".

Brazilian superstar Neymar presided over the seven minute finale that plunged PSG into a nightmare. He scored an 88th-minute free kick and a penalty in the 91st before setting up Sergi Roberto's clincher in the fifth minute of injury time.

- Went to pieces -

After earlier goals by Luis Suarez, Layvin Kurzawa's own goal and Messi's penalty, Barcelona's hopes took a blow when Edinson Cavani smashed in just after the hour mark.

Neymar's antics sealed a 6-1 win on the night, 6-5 overall.

"I know that we have made history. A team like this can do anything," Neymar said.

The win recalled Manchester United's injury-time double to win the 1999 title against Bayern Munich in the same stadium, and Liverpool's victory in the 2005 final after being 3-0 down to AC Milan at half-time.

"It is a difficult night to explain with words," said Barca boss Luis Enrique.

"It was a horror movie, not a drama, with a Camp Nou that I have seen very few times as a player or coach.

"What defines this victory is the faith that the players and fans had."

Enrique announced in the fallout of Barcelona's 4-0 defeat in Paris that he would leave at the end of the season.

The French press scrambled to find words harsh enough to describe PSG's shame. "Crushed, trampled on, humiliated," said Le Figaro newspaper. And the result has now raised questions about the future of PSG coach Unai Emery, as club president Nasser Al-Khelaifi ominously called it "very hard to accept".

- Referee blamed -

"This is a nightmare for everybody. Is Unai Emery still credible? This is not the moment to talk of this. After the game, we are all upset," said the Qatari.

Around 30 supporters were waiting for the team when they flew back to Le Bourget airport outside Paris.

In chaotic scenes, Italian international Motta's car accelerated as supporters and photographers obstructed the road. One man banged on the vehicle and was struck by the car. He was taken to hospital but his injuries were minor, police told AFP adding later that they had started an inquiry.

Emery admitted his team went to pieces in the final minutes, but said they were badly affected by the two second-half penalties given by German referee Deniz Aytekin.

"In the second-half it changed. The (Messi) penalty got them off to a great start, but I was already calmer because I could see the team was responding better, were better positioned on the pitch and could do damage," said the Spanish coach.

"We had chances to make it 3-2 and then the refereeing decisions, I don't know if they were right or not, but for sure they damaged us. Then in the last two minutes we lost everything we had recovered in the second-half."

Neymar restored Barca's belief as he firstly fired home a sensational free-kick two minutes from time and then converted from the penalty spot.

Substitute Roberto became the unlikely hero when he stretched to turn home Neymar's chip over the defence.

"I threw myself at it with everything," Roberto told BeIN Sports.

Midfielder Ivan Rakitic said: "It's crazy. After Paris, many people spoke hard about our team but tonight was special, we made history.

"We know we are the best team in the world."

As well as staying in the race for a sixth title, the 1992, 2006, 2009, 2011 and 2015 European champions set a new record by reaching their 10th straight quarter-final.

Barcelona defender Gerard Pique, husband of Colombian pop star Shakira, predicted exuberant celebrations after the win.

"I would say to the hospitals of Barcelona to hire nurses," said the father of two. "Tonight people will make a lot of love."