'My goal against Atletico is still impossible to describe' - Barca icon Pizzi

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Now 22 years on from Barcelona's 5-4 win against the Rojiblancos, the man who scored the winner spoke to Goal about that famous night

Juan Antonio Pizzi will always be associated with Barcelona despite only spending two seasons as a player at Camp Nou.

The Argentine is famous for scoring the decisive goal to complete one of Barca’s most famous comebacks, on this day 22 years ago.

The Blaugrana took on Atletico Madrid in the Copa del Rey quarter-final second leg with the tie level at 2-2.

Bobby Robson’s side found themselves 3-0 down at half-time and 4-2 behind early in the second half, with elimination all but certain.

However, goals from Ronaldo and Luis Figo brought Barca level before substitute Pizzi fired home the winner with eight minutes left to complete a famous comeback.

Keen to hear the 50-year-old's take on that special night, Goal sat down with the former striker.

Goal: Is that goal against Atletico still appearing in your dreams twenty-two years later?

Pizzi: "The truth is... yes! It was a very special goal for me and for Barcelona. It was an honour to score, a great emotion, something undeniable and unforgettable today."

Goal: When [Bobby] Robson gave you the signal to go onto the field, what went through your head?

Pizzi: "We wanted to get into the game and then come back, we did not want to be in such a humiliating situation, we were playing as a home team. After the words of Bobby Robson at half-time we came out very strong, with great enthusiasm to reverse the result and that transmitted to the stands."

Goal: In the middle of the comeback [Milinko] Pantic scored Atletico’s fourth to make it 4-2. How did you feel?

Pizzi: "It was a hard blow for all of us. We had been fighting for a long time and thinking we could get closer then Pantic scored.

"But we never stopped trusting each other and we had a very offensive team with great skill and technique. That allowed us to confront ourselves and play at our best.”

Goal: At what point did you think the comeback was possible? Or is it that you never stopped believing?

Pizzi: "The 'click' was at the start of the second half. There we showed energy despite having conceded three goals. The fans were encouraging a lot, there was a lot of fervour, and we began to believe that it was possible."

Goal: The supporters, who usually leave early during midweek games, stayed until the end that day. What impact did that have on the pitch?

Pizzi: "It was usual to see a lot of the crowd attending the stadium leave before the end of the game but that day they all stayed and put a lot of pressure on the rival team. The supporters ended up being decisive to the win at the Camp Nou."

Goal: And at the moment in which [Pep] Guardiola puts the cross to the area, what were you thinking?

Pizzi: "The forwards always believe that the ball will fall to us and that we are going to score a goal. I remember that Abelardo Fernández headed the ball and, despite being surrounded, I fell into a perfect position and I was lucky to get that fifth goal. We always had the hope that the conditions were favourable for the comeback."

Goal: Pantic still does not believe it. A few months ago he told me that that day 'football was not fair'. Can you talk about injustice after a 5-4 game?

Pizzi: "Not at all, I understand what Pantic means, in his personal situation, a match of such importance and in which he gets four goals for his team and does not qualify, it is not easy to take. But when you combine it with what happened in the [first leg at the] Vicente Calderón means no one can argue that we progressed in a fair way. We played a very good game at Atletico and then what happened at the Camp Nou happened.”

Goal: You returned to Barcelona as a coach with Valencia in 2014, where the fans showed they had not forgotten you. Valencia won 3-2 that day with a young Paco Alcacer scoring the winner. Are you surprised with how he is performing at Borussia Dortmund?

Pizzi: "He is exploiting his qualities in Dortmund, a team where he has more opportunities to play than in Barcelona. The more he plays, the more he gains confidence and increases his performance. He is a young boy who still has things to prove and things to do, but he is at an ideal club to achieve it."

Goal: Will Valencia qualify the Champions League at the end of the season?

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Pizzi: "It's going to be quite complicated, I think that Valencia had a period in which they did not achieve good results. Now they have recovered their best form. I really do not know if they will qualify for the Champions League but they have to try.”

Goal: And finally, can Valencia surprise Barcelona in the final of the Copa del Rey?

Pizzi: "They have evolved as a team, they have grown, that is obvious, but we will have to work very hard to achieve a surprise against Barcelona. They can do it but it will not be easy".

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