The much-anticipated draw for the Round of 16 of the 2021-22 UEFA Champions League took place on Monday, but due to technical errors the first draw was annulled. The confusion arose after Manchester United drew against Villarreal, a team they failed to take on in the round of 16 as they reached the knockout stages of the European elite competition from the same group in the second draw. Then Villarreal drew against another Manchester City Premier League team.
Later, when the botched draw was done again, Real Madrid ended up paying the top prize as they were drawn against star-studded Ligue 1 side Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) led by Lionel Messi. Initially, Real Madrid would play after the first draw against the Portuguese Benfica.
An official statement from UEFA read: “Following a technical problem with the software of a third-party service provider instructing the referees which teams are eligible to play against each other, there was a material error in the UEFA Champions League draw. round of 16.”
Following a technical issue with a third-party service provider’s software instructing the referees as to which teams are eligible to play against each other, a material error occurred in the draw for the UEFA Champions League round of 16. UEFA (@UEFA) December 13, 2021
Real Madrid is of course not happy. PSG is one of the teams to avoid in the first rounds of the Champions League. Madrid have labeled the resignation a “scandal”, according to a report by Goal.com.
The report also stated that the Spanish club’s president, Florentino Perez, was not satisfied and opposed the decision to redo the draw once the proposal was made.
Villarreal was replaced by Sporting CP as Manchester City’s opponent in the second round of draws when Manchester United drew Atletico Madrid. Chelsea will take on French champions Lille, while Liverpool will take on Inter Milan in a heavyweight clash.
Responding to the news, Liverpool manager Jürgen Klopp welcomed the draw against Inter Milan, calling it a “true European draw”. Liverpool were initially supposed to face RB Salzburg in the first draw, but Klopp had no problem with another try, saying it was the right choice.
“I saw it live and I thought, ‘You can’t leave it like that, there’s no chance.’ They definitely had to do it again,” Klopp said.
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