PSG survive early scare to dump out Barca

PSG survived a first-half onslaught from Barcelona, where Lionel Messi scored but missed a penalty, to draw 1-1 and progress 5-2 on aggregate in the Champions League.

Ronald Koeman’s side needed to score four goals for the tie to swing in their favour in Paris and started like a team capable of producing them with Ousmane Dembele wasting some glorious early chances.

It was to be PSG who opened the scoring when referee Antony Taylor awarded a penalty via the use of the pitchside monitor to deem that Mauro Icardi had been fouled off the ball by Clement Lenglet. The penalty was dispatched by Kylian Mbappe as he became the youngest player in Champions League history to reach 25 goals in the competition, taking the mantle from Messi.

Despite falling behind, Barcelona remained positive and Messi thrashed home a fabulous strike to inspire some hope but that hope faded away when his penalty was saved by Keylor Navas just before half-time.

The Spanish giants needed three second-half goals to force extra-time but PSG were much better organised after the break and restricted Messi’s influence on the game.

Player Ratings

PSG: Navas (8), Florenzi (6), Marquinhos (7), Kimpembe (6), Kurzawa (4), Gueye (5), Paredes (6), Draxler (6), Verratti (6), Mbappe (7), Icardi (6)

Subs: Diallo (7), Danilo (7), Di Maria (6), Dagba (6)

Barcelona: Ter Stegen (7), Mingueza (7), Lenglet (7), De Jong (7), Dest (7), Busquets (8), Pedri (7), Jordi Alba (7), Messi (7), Griezmann (7), Dembele (5)

Subs: Pjanic (6), Braithwaite (6), Junior (7), Trincao (6)

Man of the match: Keylor Navas

This will be the first Champions League season without a Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo side in the quarter-finals since 2004/05.

PSG will find out their opponents in the last eight on Friday, March 19 when the draw is made.

How PSG got the job done…

Barcelona flew out of the traps. They could and should have been ahead if not for some very wasteful play from Dembele in terms of his sloppy final ball passing and poor finishing.

At the same stage of the competition four years ago, Barcelona lost 4-0 in Paris only to win 6-1 at Camp Nou in one of the greatest comebacks in Champions League history – a similar comeback looked plausible judging by the tempo Barcelona were playing at.

However, PSG moved four goals clear when Mbappe, who scored a hat trick at Camp Nou, netted from the spot. It was a controversial decision to award the penalty as Icardi was accidentally tripped by Lenglet when having no chance of reaching Mbappe’s cross. The incident was spotted by VAR and they instructed Taylor to head to the screen and he surprisingly overturned his original call of no penalty.

That goal was firmly against the run of play and, after Barca had squandered more chances, Messi equalised with a powerful shot from 25 yards that tore into the top left corner.

But Messi then had a penalty saved by goalkeeper Navas on the stroke of half-time, his first miss from the spot in the Champions League since 2015.

Barca kept probing in the second half, and Messi had a chance from close range but hesitated a split-second before shooting and allowed defender Marquinhos to block his shot with the goal gaping.

Lionel Messi
Messi couldn’t spark his Barcelona team in the second half

That was good as it got for Barcelona in the second half as PSG were far better organised in defence.

The visitors’ hopes gradually fizzled out as PSG booked their spot in the last eight.

Man of the match: Keylor Navas

Once again, this match showed why every top team needs a world-class goalkeeper within their ranks. Navas was on hand to make nine saves – eight of those coming in a first half where PSG were seriously outplayed by a team that looked like the Barcelona of old. Such was the form of the goalkeeper, he even managed to keep arguably the greatest footballer of all-time from scoring from 12 yards. Not many manage that.

What the manager said

Barcelona boss Ronald Koeman: “We are out, which is what counts in this sport, but we leave with good sensations.

“We had opportunities to make things very complicated for our rival. We were the superior team in the first half, taking big risks at the back with man-to-man marking.

“Really, we deserved more for that effort. It should at least have been 2-1 to us at half-time. If we’d led at the break, the second half would have been a whole different affair.”

Koeman, on Lionel Messi: “Leo has seen for quite some time that the team is improving thanks to all the changes we’ve made.

“Particularly, we have young players of great quality. We’ve got a great future ahead.

“Leo can’t have any doubts about what the future holds for this team.”

Opta stats

  • After a run of three consecutive last 16 eliminations from 2016-17 to 2018-19, Paris Saint-Germain have reached the quarter-finals and beyond in consecutive campaigns.
  • Barcelona have failed to reach the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals for the first time since 2006-07 when they were eliminated by Liverpool in the last 16; they were on a run of 13 consecutive quarter-final appearances, the longest such run in the competition’s history.
  • There were 21 shots in the first half of this match, the most in the first half of a UEFA Champions League match since November 2019 (Real Madrid vs Paris Saint-Germain, 22); the second half featured only seven shots this evening.
  • Barcelona had 10 shots on target in this match, their most in a UEFA Champions League game they failed to win since March 2010 against Arsenal (also 10).
  • Messi failed to convert a penalty in the UEFA Champions League for the fourth time, and the first time since February 2015 against Manchester City (saved by Joe Hart).


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