Barcelona manager Luis Enrique has paid tribute to his club's supporters for inspiring the dramatic comeback over Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League last 16 second leg at the Nou Camp. The five-time winners became the first side to ever recover from a four-goal deficit to reach the quarter-finals in one of the most remarkable European ties in recent memory.
Trailing 4-0 from the first leg, Barca went ahead on the night after just three minutes when Luis Suarez headed home. Layvin Kurzawa's own goal just before the break gave the Catalans hope but they still required divine inspiration to complete the comeback.
Lionel Messi fired in a second half penalty after Neymar was tripped by Thomas Meunier but Barca's task appeared near impossible when Edinson Cavani thrashed home on the hour to put PSG on the brink, leaving the hosts needing to score three times to progress. Cavani and substitute Angel di Maria spurned chances to ease the Ligue 1 champions through, misses which would come back to haunt Unai Emery's side.
Neymar found the net with a brilliant curling free-kick before in the final minute of normal time the Brazil international struck from the penalty spot after Luis Suarez was fouled. The late salvo set-up a grand stand finale and Neymar would prove influential again, looping the ball forward for Sergi Roberto to poke beyond PSG goalkeeper Kevin Trapp to spark scenes of wild jubilation both on the pitch and in the stands.
The result comes just a week after Enrique announced his decision to stand down as Barcelona coach at the end of a season which could yet end with a second treble in three seasons. The former Spain international has dedicated the result to the supporters who he believes were behind the unlikely victory.
"The key, clearly, has been the faith that has had in the team, with 3-1 in the 84th minute," he explained, according to Marca. "I do not think any of us stopped believing. Looking back, despite their goal, I feel that our performance was impressive, we risked a lot and it was worth it. These endings sometimes happen in football and today we've felt that.
"In terms of emotion, intensity it is something that fits the club very well and I love to enjoy as a coach. This competition does not forgive a bad match. We did it in Paris together with a very good one of them." In a message to the club's recent critics, Enrique added: "I would like to emphasise those who didn't have the faith when we lost 4-0. This is dedicated to them because we are not the Harlem Globe Trotters, this is football."