Last night, football pundits around the world joined together for a big old Barcelona love-in after the side that are apparently, ‘more than a club’, pulled off an unprecedented comeback. But how exactly did they do it?
Barcelona were without question the better side in the Nou Camp on Wednesday evening but, why are we ignoring the multiple conspicuous decisions that allowed the Catalan giants to overcome the massive deficit they endured in Paris just two weeks earlier?
Barcelona were handed two penalties against PSG on Wednesday night and to put it mildly, both were very strange. When the first spotter was awarded, Neymar had thrown himself down after a vicious sliding head-tackle had apparently taken him down.
This was never a penalty. Meunier took a tumble and Neymar rammed into his head. Absolutely disgusting. pic.twitter.com/cNfUZGbIMJ
— SIDNEY (@sidneydiogu) March 8, 2017
Whether you agree with the awarding of the first penalty or not, the second was even more suspect. Running onto an over the top through ball, Suarez screamed and threw himself to the ground after a PSG player had the audacity to touch him as they both competed for the falling ball.
However, before the second Barcelona penalty was even awarded, and with the score still poised at 3-1, Angel Di Maria was sent through on goal with a one-on-one chance to put the tie to bed. However, just before he released his shot, Javier Mascherano slid in from behind and blatantly fouled the Argentinian international.
It was a stonewall penalty but, not only was the foul simply dismissed by the officials, UEFA’s official coverage of the game deemed the incident to not even be worthy of one replay for the millions of fans watching. Forget about it guys, we’ve a Barcelona miracle to get on with here.
Speaking after the game, Javier Mascherano admitted that he had in fact fouled Di Maria during the incident in question but that, it hadn’t really been the reason for their victory.
“It’s clear that I did foul Di Maria but I think that’s not the reason why we eliminated PSG.”
Mascherano’s comments aside, I will leave you with the following question; how did the assistant official behind the goal overrule the referee for the first penalty (Meunier on Neymar), yet not even bat an eye as Javier Mascherano slid in on Di Maria from behind less than twelve yards in front of him? In what world does that make sense?