PSG joins the list of all other clubs to wreck out a Champions League ignominy on Barcelona with a vehement victory at the Camp Nou that pushed the French giants a step towards the qualification for the quarter-finals of the UCL and Barca’s European dreams in bits and pieces once again.
Kylian Mbappe, who was the star of the show and stole the headlines after his hat-trick, the stalwart, Frenchman rampaged against a Barca defense. The Catalans’ weakness at the defense line is no secret to all, Koeman is working on this and has improved a little in these matters, as Paris Saint-Germain crushed FC Barcelona 4-1 in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League Round-of-16 fixture at Camp Nou.
Neymar’s absence through injury was good news and Gerard Pique’s return to the starting lineup after three months out of action was a relief, though none of it proved up to the mark.
Clement Lenglet was also struggling against Mbappe and seemed completely in a state of oblivion of Moise Kean’s presence on the pitch, who scored the fourth goal. Sergino Dest also had a tough match and, was eventually substituted by Oscar Mingueza. Sergio Busquets also made some mistakes and gave the ball away far too high up the pitch. Ousmane Dembele, who also committed defensive duties and provided space to Layvin Kurzawa.
Dembele failed to deliver badly at the other end, along with the Frenchman, Griezmann, who could’ve made it 2-0 in the first half but failed and attempted a tame shot at Keylor Navas. It was the worse night for Dembele who had been in great form in the Champions League with three goals and two assists in four games to his name before PSG.
Though Barcelona won a penalty when Layvin Kurzawa gawky tackle and brought down Frenkie de Jong in the box, so Barca Skip Lionel Messi stepped up calmly to lead by a goal up in the 27th minute. However, their happiness lasted just five minutes as PSG’s move ended with Mbappe’s dribble across the Barca defence firing past Marc-Andre Ter Stegen, though he produced several amazing saves throughout the first half.
In the second half, the visitors created a lot of chances, as stunning reflexes were made to deny Moise Kean, Kurzawa and Mauro Icardi’s attempts. However, PSG with another goal took the lead in the 65th minute.
Alessandro Florenzi gave in a magnificent cross into the box, and Mbappe was in the correct position to convert after Gerard Pique’s poor defense and clearance.
After this match, a lot of criticism will be faced by Barca and Koeman, including Pique’s poor defense, and most importantly, will Messi continue to stay at Barca? Can Barca make a come back like the last time? Indeed Barca could end up winning in the second leg if they are careful.