The draw for the Champions League Round of 16 stage will take place a second time after a bizarre moment saw Manchester United initially drawn to face an ineligible opponent.
All eyes were on who each of England’s four qualified teams would face in the first knockout stage of the Champions League. Liverpool and Chelsea drew the easiest opponents on paper after being matched with RB Salzburg and Lille respectively.
Manchester City’s test was harder when picked to square off with Europa League holders Villarreal.
However, it was Manchester United being drawn to face PSG that caught the eye.
That would have seen Cristiano Ronaldo square off against arch-rival Lionel Messi. However, a bizarre moment earlier in the draw has rendered those ties null and void.
Man Utd draw ineligible opponent
As the draw was made in Nyon on Monday there was a hiccup when Villarreal were initially drawn against United.
But with both clubs having already met in Group F, former Arsenal forward Andrey Arshavin was asked to try again. Teams cannot be drawn against those they faced in the group phase for the first knockout round.
City’s name was the next one out of the hat. That set up their first meeting with the Yellow Submarine since 2011.
When Atletico Madrid were the next side to be drawn, UEFA deputy general secretary Giorgio Marchetti said: “For Atletico Madrid, the possibility are all [teams] except for Liverpool, who was in the same group, and Manchester United as they were already drawn.”
But as United’s drawing was a mistake, they should still have been potential opponents for Atletico. UEFA’s head of club competitions Michael Heselschwerdt began collecting balls to put in the pot. However, he compounded the error by appearing to take a ball from Liverpool’s pot rather than United’s.
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Atletico were ultimately paired with Bayern Munich. But given the series of errors, UEFA had no choice but to declare the draw void.
A statement said: “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.
“As a result of this, the draw has been declared void and will be entirely redone at 1500 CET [2pm UK time].”