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UEFA Champions League 2021-22: Last-16 draw declared null after Manchester United error, new draw to occur

The 2021-22 UEFA Champions League pre-quarters draw saw Manchester United being clubbed against PSG. However, after a glaring error, the draw has been declared null.

UEFA Champions League, UCL 2021-22: Last-16 draw declared null after Manchester United error, new draw to occur-ayh
Nyon, First Published Dec 13, 2021, 7:09 PM IST
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On Monday, football fans were thrilled to see former three-time UEFA Champions League (UCL) winner Manchester United drawn against French giant Paris Saint-Germain (PSG). As a result, it allowed the fans to relive the epic rivalry between Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. However, the draw had an error.

Earlier, United was clubbed against Villarreal incorrectly, as the two had already faced each other in the group stage. However, it was then left off mistakenly in the list of possible opponents to face Atletico Madrid. As per The Athletic, several clubs pointed out the glaring error to the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) and pursued immediate clarification, resulting in the draw being nullified by UEFA.

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“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. As a result of this, the draw has been declared void and will be entirely redone at 1500 CET (19.30 IST),” said UEFA in a statement.

After the Villareal-United error, the Atletico draw saw United’s ball not being included. Instead, Liverpool’s ball was placed into the pot, despite the two clubs having already faced each other in the group stage, with Liverpool winning on both occasions. However, the rest of the draws were error-free, while former Russian striker Andrey Arshavin made the draws.

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The pre-quarters fixtures will be played in February-March. While the first leg will be conducted on February 15-16 and February 22-23, the second leg will be held on March 8-9 and Match 15-16. In the meantime, the seeded group winners will play the first leg away from home.

Also, in a change from this season, the away goal rule will not be in effect. It means that a match that ends in a tie after the second leg would head into extra time, followed by the penalty shootout. Moreover, none of the teams from the same association can be clubbed against each other in pre-quarters.

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