The draw for the Champions League last-16 was made earlier today, and while it was a fairly underwhelming affair, there was a couple of standout ties.
Atletico Madrid vs Bayern Munich had the potential to be an explosive affair, but there is no doubt that the most eye-catching tie was PSG vs Manchester United. That would be a big one at the best of times, with the presence of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo on the pitch together adding a new dimension.
Here was the draw in full.
The draw for the #UCL last-16 has been made! A very tough draw for Manchester United 😬
| Watch every #UCL game for free on the LiveScore app here: https://t.co/asGxlTfSUJ. Registered ROI users only. #ad pic.twitter.com/gf1ZeftGVY
— Balls.ie (@ballsdotie) December 13, 2021
However, none of it matters now after it was confirmed that the draw would have to be redone.
As a result of this, the draw has been declared void and will be entirely redone at 1500 CET.
— UEFA (@UEFA) December 13, 2021
It certainly did seem like UEFA made a mess of their process, with Manchester United supporters particularly peeved.
The issue came early on in the draw when United were drawn to play Villarreal. Of course, these two teams met in the group stages and this would not have been possible if the draw was carried out correctly. Manchester City were then paired against the Spanish side instead.
The issue was compounded further when drawing the balls for the next tie. Atletico Madrid were drawn out of the unseeded bowl, but Manchester United's ball was seemingly not put back into the pot as their opponents were selected, with Liverpool being included instead (but not selected in the end)
You can watch the incident below.
It definitely looks like #mufc’s ball - in the second pot from the right, back row - was not included in the Atletico Madrid draw. pic.twitter.com/ubxQHdjkQV
— Mark Critchley (@mjcritchley) December 13, 2021
This essentially means that not all teams had the opportunity to be paired with potential eligible opponents.
In fact, there seemed to be three errors during this period.
3 errors in the initial Champions' League draw:
#1: Manchester United & Villarreal drawn in the same pot when they were in the same group
#2: Liverpool included in the draw for Atletico Madrid, were in same group
#3: Manchester United not included in Atletico Madrid's draw
— Get French Football News (@GFFN) December 13, 2021
The fact that United would go on to be paired with PSG a few moments later only added insult to injury.
Due to this issue, some believed that the entire draw would have to be redone.
Don't see how UEFA can let this draw stand. Man Utd were by mistake omitted from the draw against Atletico Madrid.
— Raphael Honigstein💙 (@honigstein) December 13, 2021
what just happened? Manchester United's ball wasn't even in the bowl for the Atletico Madrid match……
— Fredrik (@F_Edits) December 13, 2021
Won't they have to do the draw again though? United weren't even in the pot to possibly face Atletico Madrid.
— Ian Doyle (@IanDoyleSport) December 13, 2021
Liverpool being picked for the Atletico Madrid draw and Man United being blanked out!
This is a scandal and the draw must be redone NOW! #ucl @ChampionsLeague pic.twitter.com/CoeCe74Bze
— Terry Flewers (@terryflewers) December 13, 2021
That indeed turned out to be the case.
There was certainly a common theme among the complaints from United fans.
That was a farce. They had United in the wrong pot then said man United couldn’t get Atletico cos United have been drawn already when they hadn’t been drawn at all at that stage and they were the last team to get drawn
— 𝙆𝙮𝙡𝙞𝙖𝙣💫 (@utdSh0la) December 13, 2021
UEFA rigged a Man. City vs PSG group when they heard the Ronaldo rumours, but that never happened, so they rigged Man. United vs PSG in the knockouts instead.
— TC (@totalcristiano) December 13, 2021
It was soon confirmed that a second draw would be held, with the first one entirely voided.
An absolute shambles from UEFA.