UEFA had to redraw the Champions League last 16 fixtures after Manchester United was wrongly excluded.
In the first round, the Old Trafford side was paired with Paris Saint-Germain. However, closer inspection revealed that United was mistakenly left out as Atletico Madrid waited for potential opponents in the knockout stages.
UEFA issued a statement shortly after the fixtures were announced confirming that the whole process had to be re-evaluated and that the fixtures that were announced Monday morning are now null and void.
The European governing body stated that “Significant errors were made in the Champions League draw over the past 16 years because of a technical problem with the software used by an external service provider to instruct officials which teams are eligible to play each another.”
What happened in the first draw?
The world waited to see what was at stake in the 16th stage. But Andrey Arshavin, Champions League final ambassador, drew Manchester United to face Villarreal.
However, both were in Group F so they weren’t eligible to face one another in the first knockout round. United therefore should not have been placed in the bottom pool.
They quickly reacted to their initial problems by scoring another goal from the bottom pool. This allowed United’s neighbor Manchester City to face the Spanish side.
The mistake did not end there. Manchester United appears to have been hidden in the automatic tip George Marchetti was reading to allow for the continuation of the draw.
Marchetti misunderstood stated that United would not be Diego Simeone’s opponent when Atletico Madrid was drawn as the next unseeded side.
Their ball was technically taken from the bottom pool. However, this was an error and they should be back in a draw to be eligible to face Atletico.
Marchetti’s statement meant that Michael Hesselschweit, United’s UEFA colleague, did not place United’s ball in the bottom pool to allow for seeding against the Spanish champions.
UEFA’s mistake meant that they were not included in the draw and the Red Devils were drawn to face PSG at the end of the match.
Cristiano Ronaldo will be playing Lionel Messi in this match, while Mauricio pochettino will take on Ralph Rangnick at the touchline.