clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

UEFA Champions League: Paris Saint-Germain 3-2 FC Barcelona: Match Review

New, comments

Recap of Barcelona's thrilling Champions League encounter against Paris Saint-Germain which resulted in a loss for the Catalans

Dean Mouhtaropoulos

Barcelona were handed their first loss of the season by Paris Saint-Germain as goals from David Luiz, Marco Verratti and Blaise Matuidi were enough to ensure the three points stayed at home. Barcelona countered with strikes from Lionel Messi and Neymar, but were unable to find the equalizer, despite coming within an inch or two of scoring on a couple occasions.


PSG

Barcelona

Possession

37%

63%

Total Shots

11

15

Shots on Target

5

2

Pass Accuracy

83%

91%

Corners

4

8

Fouls

8

9

Offsides

0

0

Yellow Cards

3

1

Red Cards

0

0




Barcelona started the game with an expected lineup, with Marc-Andre ter Stegen starting in place of Claudio Bravo in goal. The center-back duo was once again formed by Jeremy Mathieu and Javier Mascherano, while Pedro started alongside Messi and Neymar in the front three.

Barça opened the match from midfield amid loud whistles from the crowd at the Parc des Princes. Playing for the first time in their bright yellow kits, it was difficult to miss any of the Catalan players on the pitch. PSG allowed Barcelona to control the ball from the opening kickoff, but while the press wasn't always on, the PSG players were positioned high up the pitch, with four or five players close to or even over the midfield line.

And the high placement caused Barcelona many problems. The first shot of the game was forced by Thiago Motta who forced Sergio Busquets to turn the ball over, but the former Barcelona-man slipped in the deciding moment and sent the ball over the bar. A couple minutes after that play Lucas Moura won a free kick near the left sideline. The Brazilian sent a good cross to the middle and only an Ivan Rakitić block prevented PSG from celebrating the opening goal.

But the hosts continued with the strong start to the game, and after Dani Alves gave up the ball in transition, only to commit a handball seconds later, PSG were presented with another dangerous free kick. Lucas once again sent a great ball to the middle where David Luiz made Mascherano look like a rag-doll and the Brazilian center-back was able to slot the ball into the unguarded part of the net for the first goal Barcelona conceded this season. You have to find it a bit ironic that Barcelona allowed the first goal of the season to the man they wanted in the summer wanted, but didn't get.

But Barça weren't going to dwell on the goal and immediately launched an attack which resulted in Barcelona's 500th Champions League goal. A quick move from Neymar and pass to Messi opened up space for Andres Iniesta on the left, with whom Messi played a brilliant one-two with, which left the Argentine wide open in the middle. And knowing Messi you don't need to be a rocket scientist to figure out that he was able to cap of the lovely play with a left-footed shot that tied up the game.

The frantic pace continued and once again Busquets was stripped of the ball and again it lead to a long-range chance for the hosts. This time it was Edinson Cavani who stole the ball and had a go on goal, but ter Stegen watched the shot said over the crossbar.

The teams spent the next ten minutes battling in the midfield, with only Pedro and Neymar taking relatively harmless shots at the PSG net. But then PSG piled on the pressure once again and again they were able to take the lead after a set-piece. Some soft defending from Jordi Alba and Mathieu led to a corner kick. Motta sent the cross to the far post where Marco Verratti, of a towering height of 165cm (5'5''), eluded the Barcelona defense, namely Rakitić, to head a rather weak header on goal. But because ter Stegen unnecessarily left the line Verratti had the goal at his mercy and PSG were in the lead for the second time in the game.

PSG tightened up their ranks a bit after retaking the lead, but Barcelona came close to quickly tying the game again, this time through Iniesta's long shot, but the Spaniard set the ball sailing over the crossbar. Barcelona were able to spend the next few minutes with possession in their attacking third, but they were unable to break through the organized PSG defense. The closest they came to a shot on goal came in the 31st minute when Rakitić and Mascherano combined on a set-play from a corner kick that left the Argentine wide open on the edge of the box. Mascherano fired a good shot toward net, but on its way on goal the ball was blocked by Luiz.

Teams spent the last 10 minutes of the half battling mostly in the middle third, with both at times making their way through to the opposing defensive line, only to get stopped by the respective members of each back-four. The last chance of the first half went Barcelona's way, with Messi winning a free-kick 25 yards from goal, but he was then unable to test Salvatore Sirigu from distance.

Looking back at the first half, there were some positives in Barcelona's play, obviously capped off by the beautiful Messi goal, but it was clear that Barcelona were unsettled by Paris Saint-Germain's high pressure. And PSG took full advantage of that and of their physicality in the air game, scoring both of their goals from set-piece situations.

Neither team made any changes during halftime. The opening minutes of the half looked largely similar to the ones from the first half. Barcelona were able to hold onto the ball, though they were unable to break down the PSG defense, but as soon as PSG regained possession they were near the Barcelona penalty box within a pass or two. Barça's defense looked anything but solid and PSG took advantage of that in the 54th minute when Gregory Van der Wiel sent a dangerous cross into the middle where Matuidi was left with too much space and was able to tap the ball between ter Stegen's legs and into the back of the net to double the lead.

But Barcelona were again able to respond immediately after conceding. Alves was able to exploit the space he was allowed on the right side to send a high ball to near the penalty spot, hoping to find Messi. The ball overshot Messi, but was perfect for Neymar who joined the play. The Brazilian controlled the ball and fired an unstoppable right-footed drive off the post and into the back of the net to bring Barcelona back within one.

Quickly after the Neymar goal PSG started threatening again, forcing ter Stegen to make a couple of saves and the Barcelona defense to make a few important plays that prevented further bombardment of the Barcelona goal.

Lucho made his first substitution of the game in the 62nd minute when Munir El Haddadi took the place of Pedro on the right wing. Five minutes later the Barcelona coach made his second change, taking off Rakitić and putting Xavi in the Croat's place. With that appearance, his 143rd, Xavi became the player with the most Champions League appearance in the history of the competition, dethroning former Real Madrid man, Raul.

Barcelona didn't get their next good look on goal until the 75th minute when Xavi's long free kick caused some confusion in the PSG area. The poor clearance left Iniesta with the ball in space on the edge, but the midfielder was unable to pick his spot and the ball didn't even threaten Sirigu.

At this point PSG started sitting a bit deeper, trying to hold on to the lead, which allowed Barcelona a larger percentage of ball possession. Barcelona started looking more dangerous in attack, especially after the 80 minute mark, when first Neymar's shot was blocked and then moments later Jordi Alba was denied a goal by a diving Marquinhos block after a perfect Munir cross. Munir himself created another chance three minutes later when he fired a powerful shot on goal from 25 yards out that beat Sirigu, but was rejected by the frame of the goal.

In between those two chances Lucho made a bold, but understandable, substitution, replacing a defender, Alves, with a forward, Sandro Ramirez. That change clearly signaled that Barcelona were going all in. That left acres of space for Cavani to exploit and only a timely intervention by Mascherano and a save by ter Stegen kept Barcelona in the game until the final whistle.

Just seconds into added time Neymar found Sandro in a good spot to tie the game, but the young forward didn't get a good shot off, missing the goal by some distance despite taking the shot from a prime scoring position. The Catalans piled on the pressure for the remaining few minutes of added time, but were left unrewarded for their efforts.

It was a valiant effort in the end by Barcelona, but it was all too little too late as the Catalans lost their first game of the season in the game in which they allowed their first goal of the season. Lucho now has time until Saturday to iron out the problems as an always difficult away game at the Vallecas against Rayo Vallecano awaits.

Roll Call:

Roll Call Info
Total comments 751
Total commenters 55
Commenter list Abdul95, Anders Thomassen, Anirudh_Kul, Artemis11, Barca Boy, Black&Gold.Forever, Born Blaugrana, DallasChiefsFan25, Daxterflames, Eddie Pundell, El_Illusionista, FCBblaug, Jake07, KiwiBarca, LA495, LaSenyera, Lapulga, Lloyd Miller, Neyssi, NoImagination90, Ragnar_Lothbrok, Raul311, Som-i-Serem, TheOnlyPtolemy, ThreePar, Uncharted_Almo, ViscaViscaBarca, Waje.y, Willis1984, Yuro_Doosh, ade fox, askhanna, craig00000, culegun, david.james, defeaning_silence, feeya7, hdp78, magical_messi, manningcoltsfan19, messism, milesbarca, msalmanz, nolet, oddsbodiSkins, pogis1991, robyn_bird96, shubham2806, smb26, stocks712, syredeathtrooper, tilak, viscaelbarcaiviscacatalunya, waseem10, ᏣᎧᎿᏒᎭᎳᎧᎢᎣᏯᏫ
Story URLs
# Commenter # Comments
1 Anders Thomassen 80
2 ade fox 58
3 oddsbodiSkins 49
4 DallasChiefsFan25 42
5 Uncharted_Almo 37
6 El_Illusionista 37
7 feeya7 36
8 Barca Boy 35
9 Artemis11 30
10 syredeathtrooper 26
11 magical_messi 24
12 Yuro_Doosh 20
13 craig00000 19
14 Born Blaugrana 19
15 milesbarca 17
16 pogis1991 15
17 shubham2806 14
18 Lloyd Miller 13
19 viscaelbarcaiviscacatalunya 13
20 ThreePar 13
21 Waje.y 12
22 messism 10
23 tilak 10
24 Anirudh_Kul 10
25 Lapulga 9
26 ViscaViscaBarca 9
27 Abdul95 8
28 nolet 7
29 FCBblaug 7
30 Eddie Pundell 6
31 waseem10 6
32 Daxterflames 6
33 culegun 5
34 LaSenyera 5
35 defeaning_silence 5
36 Raul311 4
37 LA495 4
38 Som-i-Serem 4
39 NoImagination90 3
40 TheOnlyPtolemy 3
41 Willis1984 2
42 Neyssi 2
43 david.james 2
44 askhanna 2
45 hdp78 2
46 KiwiBarca 2
47 manningcoltsfan19 1
48 stocks712 1
49 smb26 1
50 Jake07 1
51 Black&Gold.Forever 1
52 Ragnar_Lothbrok 1
53 ᏣᎧᎿᏒᎭᎳᎧᎢᎣᏯᏫ 1
54 robyn_bird96 1
55 msalmanz 1