To the surprise of many, I work for a living. It has deadlines and client-facing interaction, so I am often unable to watch Champions League matches. I like to give my undivided attention to my pitch-dwelling friends, so I just use the handy DVR feature on my TV box modem machine and then do the nearly impossible: I avoid the score. I shut down social media, don’t check Whatsapp, and make sure that I avoid emails from “friends” likely sending me spoilers.
I didn’t bother avoiding the first leg against PSG because I wasn’t going to be able to watch later, but the second leg offered me the opportunity to do exactly that, so I took it. And then, while I watched starting about 4 hours after it ended, for reasons I still do not understand, I kept a liveblog. And this, dear readers, is that liveblog. It’s not much, but it’s what I have. It has been lightly edited for readability. Please, come and re-live the match with me. Comments from me after the fact appear in [brackets].
Wednesday, March 8, 2017, approx 8pm Eastern.
I’m excited for this match. Cautiously optimistic. What is happening to me? I have 150 messages on my WhatsApp group about the match, but my wife points out that can mean anything. Maybe Beyonce did something. Or maybe we lost on a controversial penalty.
Minute 3: GOOOOL! I actually clapped and cheered. Is this going to be a match? No way. Can’t be. 3-1 final. Never gets close. But what if?
Minute 12: Only 12 minutes!? Wow. Matuidi is going to get sent off.
Minute 14: No seriously he is going to get sent off
Minute 16: Neymar just wide and I thought it was in. Gasps heard here.
Minute 19: PSG have settled. This is now a slugfest. Needed that Neymar goal. Messi totally bottled up.
Minute 30: PSG starting to waste serious time. Mats with his first save. Messi leads a break finally and overhits a pass to Rafinha. Not a good match for Messi.
Minute 33: Some flurries of action but nothing very dangerous and this seems more like 2-0 or 2-1 than even 3-1. Suarez breaks and his shot goes to Trapp.
Minute 34: Wait why did Busi just get a yellow for a foul committed by Veratti? Replays don’t help, but he misses the next match, whenever that is. [I still don’t understand this, though I haven’t really looked for an explanation. Did he wave an imaginary card at the ref? Whatever it was, bad idea from Busi. What got accomplished?]
Minute 37: Lucas is down and the ref goes over to Trapp while play is stopped to remind the GK about time wasting. Lucas up and clearly just buying time. Boring.
GOOOOOOOLLLLLL. Iniestaaaaa! A backheel and Trapp puts it off Verratti I think for an own goal. No it’s Kurzawa. That makes more sense. Wait, is this me believing? I stood up and pumped my fist and maybe scared my wife. [I had a great moment there where I convinced myself it wasn’t Kurzawa and that it was Verratti who had deflected it in, but I was pretty sure Verratti had been in midfield like half a second before and I thought “oh my god he can teleport” and then I replays showed it was Kurzawa after all]
Minute 41: Cavani gets a yellow after being fouled by Pique…Not smart! Freekick is cleared and Neymar tracks it down on the left side. What a game by him. He cares.
3 minutes added time! That is substantial for a first half. Can we grab a third? Doesn’t seem like it then tons of pressure. A corner… Nothing. Bad corner from Neymar. 2-0 at half. Okay. Could be worse! Wait a free kick in a good spot…If only we had aerial threats! But we don’t. Halftime for real.
Okay second half. We need more of that, I guess, but a counter is going to kill us isn’t it? Ugh. But this is fun! I think. I’m less optimistic than I was 3 minutes ago but I have a new beer!
Minute 46: Argh Draxler gets through and it’s a corner. Yikes. Di Maria warming up. What a super sub.
Penalty!!! Wait no what what what oh okay yes a penalty. Clear penalty. [I freaked out here when Neymar wasn’t awarded the penalty. I’m not sure how I typed that much on my phone before the penalty was given. I’m pretty sure that if it hadn’t been given that I would have just typed what what what forever] Goooool Messi! 3-0!? Okay…
DVR just skipped around and apparently Cavani hit the post? Um…Okay. DVR is totally freaking out. Random double speed while sound stays the same. [lasted about 2 minutes and it was really weird. It would go forward in time, then zip backwards only replay the same thing at twice the speed] I think it’s done now.
Minute 54: Freekick…Comes to nothing, but Rafinha gets it back and can’t get it over Trapp…Neymar freed into the box by Messi and bundled over but not a penalty. Seen it called though. Di Maria on for Lucas. Keep the ball away from him, please!
Minute 57: Barça playing so hard. They’re like Kansas: great starters but no depth. It’s all Barça right now. Gotta make it count.
58: And now PSG able to get some space in midfield. Di Maria already changing the game. Corner to PSG and it’s pinball time. Phew. Out for goal kick.
60: I’m actually nervous now! What is this! Their goal is coming and I can feel it. Felt like we were on top for a minute there and #4 was coming but it hasn’t
61: fuck there it is. Ah shit. That was coming. Brilliant finish there. We need 3 more and that ain’t happening. It was a great try, Barça! Dipped for a second and that was it and unfortunately I called it.
62: Now they’ll hit us for another. Oh what a save from Mats! [Right here I saw a text from a friend saying WHERE ARE YOU??? and I thought that was weird, but I did think all of my friends were at the bar, so they were probably just drunk from the 3-0 and subsequent sadness, but there were odd doubts that crept in–did we really do it? No, I told myself, that couldn’t be possible. I wrote back “Cavani just scored :(” I was vindicated in that interpretation when it ticked to minute 86 or whatever and it was 3-1.]
63: Neymar gets an obvious yellow. Dumb. Iniesta off for Turan. Messi is captain now. We’re all let down here. [I still don’t know what “we’re all let down here” means, but…I guess I did at the time?]
67: Suarez gets a yellow for diving and I thought it was a penalty at first but no that was a good call. Definite flop and maybe he should have shot. The team doesn’t believe…
68: Neymar weaves through but Suarez commits a foul to free him and it’s called back. Damn. PSG are being more adventurous and it’s helping. Di Maria changed everything.
I have 140 messages waiting for me from my friends. Hmm. [This is that doubt that I had from earlier, but also, I had 150 before the match, didn’t read any of them, and have 140 now? Someone needs a new abacus.]
70: Draxler is still on the field? Huh. Hey so is Rafinha. There’s another goal in this, it feels like, but… Not from Neymar who slips.
72: Suarez is going to get sent off…
74: Just explained away goals to my wife as Messi skews a shot wide. She’s excited that there’s no extra time and disappointed that Barça has to score 3 instead of “just” 2. And Draxler is off.
77: PSG seems to be wasting time…Get up ya muppets. You’re through.
84: Gomes on for Raki. This one is dead… But imagine if we score 3! Something something Istanbul.
85: Uh yeah that’s not happening.
86: Did Di Maria just fall down?
87: I think Neymar might have killed Aurier? Nah he’s okay. 3 minutes and added time for the greatest finish of a match in history…Fk comes to nothing but it’s another fk…
88: GOOOOOOOOLLLL. What a goal from Neymar! Great FK.
89: Penalty! Oh my god no this isn’t gonna happen. What a great pass from Messi. Now Neymar…Goal!
90: We need one but haha nope nope nope…. How much time? What is this feeling. It’s 5 minutes.
91: Pique with a header right at Trapp. Sub for PSG.
92: Suarez looking for a penalty but it’s not given.
9…5? 6? Who cares: SERGIIIIIIII GOOOOOOOOOOOLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL AJFUEHEHDHSUDHRBEJFJDBFBDBDBFJRJCJDJDJDJDJDJFJSKASIWIRIRBDBDGBBFFBF FBDBDB