The Champions League blunder has led to the staging of another last 16 draw for the second time of asking, after an error-strewn draw needed to be voided.
Manchester United were initially drawn against Villarreal, which shouldn’t have been possible after the teams met in the group stage, and attempts to fix the error led to further issues.
“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,” a Uefa statement read.
Following complaints from a number of clubs, the draw was done for a second time, and this too brought suggestions of errors after is was announced that the Spanish club could not face Liverpool in the last 16.
However, despite Unai Emery’s team seemingly eligible to face Jurgen Klopp’s Reds, Uefa were right to rule out the possible match-up due to the impact it would have had on the remainder of the draw.
The rules of the Champions League mean a team cannot face opponents from the same group or the same country in the last 16.
This is why United’s ball should not have been in the pot when Villarreal’s opponents were drawn the first time.
However, when the time came to decide the Spanish side’s opponents during the rerun, Juventus were announced as the only possible opponents despite Liverpool also coming from a different country and group,
While Michael Owen was among the pundits initially confused by the situation, wondering if there had been another error, the reasoning behind the draw quickly emerged.
The Last 16 Draw in full
- Salzburg vs Bayern Munich
- Sporting vs Man City
- Benfica vs Ajax
- Chelsea vs Lille
- Atletico Madrid vs Man Utd
- Villarreal vs Juventus
- Inter vs Liverpool
- PSG vs Real Madrid