Barcelona staged the greatest comeback in European history as they came back from 4-0 down to beat Paris Saint-Germain 6-1 at the death on Wednesday.
Barca stuck with their 3-4-3 formation for the do-or-die clash, although Jordi Alba and Sergi Roberto were only substitutes. PSG, meanwhile, benched Angel Di Maria, who was struggling with a muscle knock.
The Catalans were striving to overturn a 4-0 deficit against Unai Emery’s side, although they could draw inspiration from Deportivo La Coruna, who came back from 4-1 down versus Milan to win 5-4 on aggregate in 2004.
Inside just three minutes, Luis Suarez’s header among a melee in PSG’s penalty area crossed the line, with UEFA’s goal-line technology confirming it.
Barca played like their lives depended on it, although they were almost dealt a scare when Julian Draxler’s low cross was blocked by Javier Mascherano, whose trailing arm appeared to handle the ball.
Messi, meanwhile, bent a free kick inches wide of Kevin Trapp’s top-right corner, before the goalkeeper was similarly flapping when Neymar curled a delightful effort his way.
Andres Iniesta pulled the trigger from 25 yards out and saw his shot veer just over Trapp’s bar, yet his cheeky backheel at the German’s near post was accidentally turned in by Layvin Kurzawa.
Almost immediately after the restart, Julian Draxler powered into the Barca box but was only denied a shot on target by a massive interception from Rafinha.
Barca then moved a goal closer to their objective when Thomas Meunier threw his body under Neymar. Messi subsequently stepped up to stroke the penalty to Trapp’s left.
Yet their good work was nearly flushed down the plughole in an instant as Edinson Cavani slid a low cross onto Ter Stegen’s near post.
PSG brought on Di Maria, despite the Argentine not being at 100 percent, and his introduction coincided with a free kick being poorly cleared. It fell straight to Cavani, who blasted home on the half-volley.
Barca needed three goals and couldn’t concede to reach the quarter-finals as a result, and it nearly got even worse for them.
Pique and Mascherano froze when Cavani ran clean through the pair, but the striker’s side-footed finish was saved by Ter Stegen’s leg.
Two more half-hearted attempts from Neymar and Messi, plus an Arda Turan strike cleared off the line, followed as everyone at Camp Nou appeared increasingly resigned to a PSG progression.
However, the turning point came when Di Maria slipped on a one-on-one with Ter Stegen, the Argentine slicing his finish wide of the left-hand post.
Suddenly, Neymar slammed a free kick into Trapp’s top-left corner and quickly doubled up from the penalty spot.
That left injury time perfectly poised for a Barca winner, and it came in its fifth and final minute as substitute Sergi Roberto sprung the offside trap from a clipped Neymar pass and flicked it home.
Barcelona 6-1 Paris Saint-Germain (6-5 agg.)
Cavani 3, Suarez 40, Messi pen 50, Neymar 88, 90, Sergi 90 (B) Cavani 62 (P)
Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Pique, Mascherano, Umtiti; Rakitic (Gomes 84), Busquets, Iniesta (Arda 65), Rafinha (Sergi 76); Messi, Suarez, Neymar
Paris Saint-Germain: Trapp; Meunier (Krychowiak 90) Marquinhos, Silva, Kurzawa; Rabiot, Verratti, Matuidi; Lucas (Di Maria 55), Cavani, Draxler (Aurier 75)
Referee: Aytekin (GER)