Barca trailed 4-0 from the first leg but, despite the enormity of the challenge facing them, so many punters backed the Spanish team even before kick-off that bookies had to cut the odds of them qualifying from roughly 20/1 to 7/1. Barca managed to pull off a miraculous escape and win 6-1 on the night, clinching a 6-5 aggregate success and leaving bookmakers crestfallen.
The outcome was even worse for bookies because of how the match unfolded, with the odds on Barcelona drifting back out to around 100/1 when the score was 3-1 and there were just a few minutes remaining. Paddy Power’s Adrian Croke said it was a ‘nightmare result where just about everything punters backed clicked’.
Bet365 reported a record-breaking liability for their company on a single match, while Coral’s John Hill said in the Racing Post: “It was a terrible outcome. It will go down as one of the greatest comebacks in football history but it will be a game bookmakers will want to forget in a hurry as it proved costly. Barcelona were very popular to qualify before the game and we saw plenty of support in-play to leave us licking our wounds.”
Barcelona are now the 11/4 favourites with Coral to go all the way and win the Champions League, ahead of Bayern Munich at 3/1 and Real Madrid at 4/1. The tournament continues next week, and punters everywhere will be hoping to pile even more misery on the bookies.