Initial Champions League last-16 draw cancelled after mistake

Initial Champions League last-16 draw cancelled after mistake
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he draw for the Champions League last-16 ties will be conducted again after a technical error in the software which advises officials which teams can and cannot be paired together, Uefa said on Monday (Dec 13).

“Following a technical problem with the software of an external service provider that instructs the officials as to which teams are eligible to play each other, a material error occurred in the draw for the Uefa Champions League round of 16,” Uefa said in a statement.

“As a result of this, the draw has been declared void and will be entirely redone at 1500 CET 

Earlier, Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain were due to meet in the Champions League for the third time in four seasons after being paired together for the round of 16.

PSG were be at home in the first leg in February in a tie that will see Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo come up against each other.

The Argentinian star moved to Paris in August just before his old Portugal rival returned to Old Trafford for a second spell.

Messi has struggled to get going in Ligue 1 but has five goals in the Champions League while Ronaldo – the competition’s all-time top scorer with 140 goals – has six in five appearances this season.

Between them, the pair have won 12 of the last 13 Ballon d’Or awards for player of the year – with Messi leading 7-5 after this year’s victory.

After numerous meetings in Spain’s ‘El Clasico’, they last played each other in 2020 when Messi was with Barcelona and Ronaldo at Juventus, with the Portugal captain scoring twice at the Camp Nou as the Italian side won 3-0 in the group stage.

Despite the signing of Messi, Mauricio Pochettino’s PSG finished second in their group this season behind Manchester City, while United topped Group F ahead of Villarreal.

Atletico Madrid and Bayern Munich were drawn together in the other standout tie, while holders Chelsea will face French champions Lille.

Pep Guardiola’s City will play Villarreal, who beat United on penalties in last season’s Europa League final and qualified for the last 16 ahead of Atalanta.

Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool will play Austrian champions Red Bull Salzburg, who are through to the knockout phase for the first time.

“Tactically they are really good, technically they are really good. I think we cannot deny the ‘favourites’ role, but we know it is a tough place to go,” the German manager told the Liverpool website.

Record 13-time European champions Real Madrid were drawn against two-time former European Cup winners Benfica, with the first leg in Lisbon.

Inter Milan play Ajax and Portuguese champions Sporting will take on Juventus.

The first legs are scheduled to take place on Feb 15-16 and Feb 22-23 while the second legs will be played on March 8-9 and March 15-16.

United and PSG also met in the round of 16 in the 2018-19 season, with the English giants progressing on away goals. Last season, both times the away side won in the group stage.

Meanwhile, Barcelona will face Napoli in the Europa League knockout round play-off stage after the Catalan giants crashed out in the Champions League group stage for the first time since the 2000-01 season.

Xavi Hernandez’s Barca will continue their European campaign in the second-tier competition, with the winner of their tie with Napoli advancing to the last 16.

Reuters/AFP

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