Lucky Chelsea land Lille AGAIN in second Champions League last-16 draw as Man Utd get Atletico Madrid instead of PSG
CHELSEA will play Lille in the Champions League Round of 16 after landing the French champions in both draws.
An error in the initial draw meant Uefa had to do it all over again, with the Blues fearing a potential horror tie against Bayern Munich or Real Madrid.
And when Bayern drew RB Salzburg it left Thomas Tuchel's side with a 50-50 chance of going to the Bernabeu, but they instead got Lille again.
Manchester United also dodged one bullet only to run straight into another firing squad when the Champions League last 16 draw was finally confirmed.
Three hours after red-faced Uefa chiefs conducted a farcical mess of a draw that left them with little option other than to start all over again, the Prem quartet finally discovered their knock-out opponents.
United, who had initially been paired – because of two cock-ups – with PSG, avoided Mauricio Pochettino, Lionel Messi and Co second time round.
But a tie against Diego Simeone’s rugged Atletico Madrid is hardly an easy option for Ralf Rangnick and his side and will require United to dig really deep to go through.
Holders Chelsea, privately seething when the initial draw, pairing them with Lille, was annulled, were all smiles as they drew the French champions all over again.
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Manchester City, who were drawn out alongside Villarreal after neighbours United were erroneously placed in the wrong pot, instead must travel to Sporting Lisbon for the first leg of their tie.
But Liverpool, who had been handed a seemingly simple tie against Salzburg, the first Austrian side to reach this stage in more than 20 years, found themselves paired with Inter Milan.
And it left one titanic clash with PSG now facing Real Madrid – which is expected to lead to a public protest from the Spanish giants who had asked for their part of the original draw to stand.
The redraw was required after United were wrongly put among the options to face Villarreal and then omitted from the pot to face Atletico – which included Liverpool although they were group opponents.
Atletico, who were drawn against Bayern Munich, made a protest to demand a redraw.
Uefa then announced the draw would be conducted again, three hours after the original pairing.
Euro chiefs blamed “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” for causing “a material error”.
Even then, there was controversy, with Real Madrid demanding their tie against Benfica remain valid as it was the first pairing to be drawn and had followed the regulations.
At the start of the redraw ceremony, Uefa deputy general secretary Giorgio Marchetti said he “apologised” for the need to do it all over again.
Marchetti said: “After the draw the external audit contacted us…as a result the full draw needs to be redone.”
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