Robson Sharuko Senior Sports Editor
REAL MADRID disintegrated in their fortress on Tuesday while Paris Saint-Germain became the first club to surrender a two-goal away lead in the Champions League, after a spectacular home collapse in Paris 24 hours later, in two results that sent tremors across world football.
The Spanish giants became the first Champions League holders to fail to make the quarter-finals in their defence of the title since Chelsea six years ago while their 1-4 defeat was their biggest margin of a loss in a home knockout game in their lengthy flirtation with European football.
Real Madrid have now lost four consecutive home matches at the Bernabeu for the first time since 2004.
PSG’s 1-3 humiliation at the Parc des Princes on Wednesday night, at the hands of Manchester United, saw the French giants lose only for the third time at home, in 51 games, in European club competitions.
Interestingly, both Real Madrid and PSG had won their away legs of the contests.
Real Madrid’s collapse was dubbed, ‘’Failure of the Century,’’ by the Spanish media while the French media turned on PSG by describing their home disintegration as something that was ‘’ridiculous in the eyes of the world’’.
‘’Paris Saint-Germain have failed often in Europe in the past decade, but rarely so dramatically and never so unexpectedly,’’ The Guardian newspaper of the United Kingdom reported yesterday.
‘’Never had a 2-0 home first-leg deficit been overturned in the Champions League, and given PSG’s masterful away display three weeks ago, coupled with a Manchester United missing Paul Pogba, Ander Herrera, Nemanja Matic, Juan Mata, Alexis Sánchez, Jesse Lingard and Anthony Martial, this tie was supposed to be over.
‘’But, in the driving Parisian rain, another record was broken.’’
get the result we need to qualify.’’
A few years ago, a home tie was virtually a ticket for success but, in recent times, the game has changed dramatically and a Sky Sports survey two years ago revealed just as much.
‘’Home advantage has been on a steady decline since the Football League kicked off 129 years ago,’’ the report concluded, ‘’At its peak in 1895/96, home teams won 64.6 per cent of their games, when 480 games were played across two professional tiers.
‘’From that summit, home win percentage hit an all-time record low in 2015/16 — crashing to just 41.0 per cent across all four tiers from 2.036 games. That same season, away win percentage hit an all-time high at 31.5 per cent.
‘’So, the value of home advantage plummeted more than 36.0 per cent, proportionately, between 1895 and 2016.
‘’The reason behind the decline is a mystery. Crowds may have become less hostile or teams may have become more accustomed to travel.
‘’In fact, home advantage has hit record lows in each of England’s four professional leagues over the last five years.’’
For Warriors coach Sunday Chidzambwa, a lifelong Manchester United fan, the strange events in Europe on Tuesday and Wednesday didn’t escape both his attention, and his scrutiny, ahead of the national team’s make-or-break 2019 AFCON showdown against Congo-Brazzaville in two weeks’ time. And, neither did this escape the attention of the Warriors’ fans.
‘’I think it’s a lesson for us, that we can’t just believe we will qualify simply because we are playing at home,’’ banker Desmond ‘’Dezola’’ Ali, who also owns a lower division side, Ali Sundowns, told The Herald yesterday.
‘’After watching the two games on Tuesday and Wednesday, I got this feeling that we can’t take things for granted anymore, that this game is changing, and we have to be at our very best to