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Champions League: PSG meet Real Madrid as last-16 draw redone after error

Richard Juilliart - UEFA / UEFA / Getty

The Champions League round of 16 draw was entirely redone on Monday after multiple errors were made during the initial proceedings hours earlier.

When the 16 teams were all placed back into the pots and the process began anew, continental heavyweights Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid were paired together in the round's standout fixture.

Here's how the second draw, since verified by UEFA, unfolded:

  • Red Bull Salzburg vs. Bayern Munich
  • Sporting CP vs. Manchester City
  • Benfica vs. Ajax
  • Chelsea vs. Lille
  • Atletico Madrid vs. Manchester United
  • Villarreal vs. Juventus
  • Inter Milan vs. Liverpool
  • Paris Saint-Germain vs. Real Madrid

European football's governing body blamed a "technical problem with the software of an external service provider" for causing a "material error" with the first draw procedure.

The mistakes stemmed from Manchester United initially being coupled with Villarreal, a matchup that was ineligible because the two sides played in the same group during the opening phase.

Manchester City were eventually drawn against the Spanish club instead, but the ball containing Manchester United's name was not replaced properly into the pots, and the Red Devils were not included as potential opponents to face Atletico Madrid in the next tie.

Atletico, who were drawn against Bayern Munich, quickly announced they were in contact with UEFA about the procedural blunder. With the entire process compromised, UEFA had little choice but to start all over again.

The first draw, declared null and void, would have offered up the following matches:

  • Benfica vs. Real Madrid
  • Villarreal vs. Manchester City
  • Atletico Madrid vs. Bayern Munich
  • Red Bull Salzburg vs. Liverpool
  • Inter Milan vs. Ajax
  • Sporting CP vs. Juventus
  • Chelsea vs. Lille
  • Paris Saint-Germain vs. Manchester United

Those fixtures would have seen Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo clash once again in Europe's preeminent club competition.

Real Madrid, who would have played against Benfica instead of PSG had the first draw not been botched, were furious with the way UEFA handled the situation, sources told Alex Kirkland and Rodrigo Faez of ESPN.

"It is a lie that it was a software error," a Real Madrid source told ESPN. "It is human error, beginning with the second pairing. Our pairing was legal."

With the matches now finalized, the first legs are scheduled to begin Feb. 15. The return fixtures will start March 8. All the group winners - listed second in their respective matchups - will play the first legs away from home.

The full match schedule is available here.

In a key change from previous seasons, UEFA abolished the away goals rule for the knockout stages; if ties are level after 180 minutes, they'll go to extra time, regardless of which team has scored more away goals.

This season's Champions League final will be played on May 28 in Saint Petersburg, Russia.

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