Football

Pique: Barca are not dead, we are still alive

Pique hits back at critics after their miraculous comeback against PSG

Barcelona defender Gerard Pique rounded on his club's critics, after the Catalan giants produced one of the greatest comebacks in football history yesterday morning (Singapore time).

Barca scored three times after the 88th minute to stun Paris Saint-Germain 6-1 at the Nou Camp and win their Champions League last-16 tie 6-5 on aggregate.

No team in Uefa club competition history had ever successfully overcome a 4-0 first-leg deficit, but Barca wrote themselves into the record books thanks to goals from Neymar (two), Luis Suarez, Lionel Messi, a Layvin Kurzawa own-goal and Sergi Roberto.

Substitute Roberto stretched to stab home the winner from a Neymar centre five minutes into stoppage time to send the Nou Camp into ecstasy, and keep Barca on course for a trophy treble in Luis Enrique's last season in charge.

PALES IN COMPARISON

Pique was part of the Barca side who claimed a dramatic Champions League semi-final victory over Chelsea in 2009 when Andres Iniesta struck a decisive stoppage-time equaliser, but the Spain international said that match pales in comparison to this one.

Pique told AS: "I was there for Iniesta's goal at Stamford Bridge, but what happened today has no comparison.

"It's one thing to score a goal in the 95th minute and another to score three times in seven minutes.

"You can talk about a miracle, a historic party. Today, I'm going to party even though I have training tomorrow. After tomorrow, we will look to the league game."

Despite the fact they are still in with a chance of winning the treble - they are top of La Liga, in the Copa del Rey final and now through to the last eight of the Champions League - Barca and their coach Enrique have come under fire for some of their performances this season.

Pique was keen to respond to the naysayers after yesterday's match, saying: "I understand that there are many people who want to bury us, coaches like (Arrigo) Sacchi, (Raymond) Domenech and I can give a list of many more coaches... But we've shown that we're still here, that we want to win.

"There will be a day when we fall down, but we're still alive."

Pique also said outgoing boss Enrique deserves the plaudits.

Enrique announced last week that he will be leaving Barca at the end of the campaign, having already won eight out of a possible 10 trophies since replacing Gerardo Martino as boss in 2014.

Pique said: "He's not had the best of treatment and his role has been key.

"I would like him to dominate the front pages because his planning and the way he approached the game have led to our qualification.

"He deserves all the praise."

Enrique said the amazing victory over PSG will forever stay in the memories of supporters.

"Any child in the Nou Camp tonight will never forget this and neither will the adults. This is a unique sport for crazy people," said the Spaniard.

"This is a night which is difficult to explain in words, it had the script of a horror film with a spectacular start with an atmosphere which I have never seen in the Nou Camp, with tension I have never felt before."

Enrique paid tribute to the fans who stood by the team after their harrowing first-leg defeat at the Parc des Princes.

"I would like to thank everyone who kept their faith after we lost 4-0. This is dedicated to them." - WIRE SERVICES

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