FC Barcelona is one step closer to the UEFA Champions League semifinals, as El Blaugrana defeated Paris Saint-Germain 3-1 at the Parc des Princes on Wednesday night.
Lionel Messi nearly got a golazo in the 14th minute, as his curling shot hit the left post. Neymar got the scoring started in the 18th minute, as Messi found the Brazilian on the left side and Neymar slipped it to the back of the net for the all-important away goal.
In the 27th minute, Javier Mascherano had and amazing stop on an Edinson Cavani pass which clearly would've led to a PSG goal.
In the second half, Xavi came on for an injured Andres Iniesta in the 53rd minute. Luis Suarez grabbed a goal in the 69th minute to give Barcelona a commanding two-goal lead, as he fought around the PSG defenders inside the box and get another away goal.
Ter Stegen made a tremendous save on a Cavani shot it the 69th minute. Suarez got his brace in the 79th minute as Luisito put the ball to the top right corner and said "Au Revoir" to Paris Saint-Germain.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p>We still have that absurd Suarez goal — nutmeg! curve! top corner! — on loop here at Casa Kedrosky <a href="http://t.co/OFEHzYz0i7">http://t.co/OFEHzYz0i7</a></p>— Paul Kedrosky (@pkedrosky) <a href="https://twitter.com/pkedrosky/status/588493397339414528">April 16, 2015</a></blockquote>
<script async src="//platform.twitter.com/widgets.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
In the last 10 minutes, a Gregory van der Wiel shot was deflected in by Jeremy Mathieu to give the home side a goal a small hope for the second leg. PSG will have to score at least three goals and not concede to have a shot at moving on, doing all of this at the Camp Nou. Very unlikely, even with Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Marco Verratti back.
Final: PSG 1-3 FC Barcelona.
David Luiz: game-changer...for Barcelona!
For me, the game-changer in this match was Thiago Silva's injury in the first half. David Luiz came on for PSG, and the match changed. Luiz's terrible defending allowed chances for Barcelona—in particular—to Luis Suarez. There was nothing Marquinhos, who had a good game, could do to help his countryman Luiz. Suarez burned Luiz all match, including the golazo in the 79th minute to put Barcelona with one foot into the semifinals.
Sky Sports commentator and former Manchester United player Gary Neville slammed Luiz for the Brazilian's effort, and it was merited. Luiz was clearly the weak link of PSG. Yes, PSG didn't have too many bright moments by other players, overall, but Luiz's poor defending on Suarez in the 79th minute essentially eliminated PSG's chances.
"When you pay £50m for a centre-back, you expect a little bit more than that." - Gary Neville. pic.twitter.com/j5nzQnDgyE— Squawka Football (@Squawka) April 15, 2015
Two nutmegs leading to two goals. Pobrecito!
Can I say that we all should be thankful to Andoni Zubizarreta for not signing David Luiz and instead, signing Jeremy Mathieu. Despite his error against PSG, Mathieu has scored important headers against Real Madrid and Celta Vigo. Plus, Mathieu made a nice block late in this match to keep the score 3-1 Barcelona. David Luiz has made important goals for PSG, but his defending is more reckless than Mathieu's. Jeremy is not an all-world defender by any means, but we all must admit, he's been pretty valuable for Barcelona this season.
Remind me how did David Luiz cost £50 million again? Maybe Luiz should just play in the CDM position and leave the CB spot to Marquinhos.
Lionel Messi: goal-less but that doesn't matter
D10S didn't have a goal against PSG, but that didn't matter. Leo created the opportunities needed for Barcelona to get goals. What a smooth pass to Neymar for the opening goal. Messi didn't score and as we all know, he doesn't need to score to have an impact on a match. Leo drags defenders with him with ease. Simply Leo!
Messi. pic.twitter.com/U17EJ1WXZU— Lucas Resende (@lucasammr) April 15, 2015
Defense: bent but didn't break
The Barcelona defense bent at times against PSG, but didn't break. Credit of course goes to Marc-Andre ter Stegen (more on him in a minute) and the defenders. Javier Mascherano's defending was huge on the night, including his key stop on Cavani's pass in the first half.
Gerard Pique made great clearances as well. Adriano, coming on as a substitute, made a huge save late in the match as well as Mathieu. The weak link was Martin Montoya, who looked poor-to-average on the night (minus his pass to Suarez for the second Barça goal). Jordi Alba had a solid game, as "The Flying Squirrel" was everywhere on the night.
Ter Stegen: continues to show greatness
There's no doubt Marc-Andre ter Stegen continues to show why he is going to one day be considered the world's best goalkeeper. Marc had an outstanding game against PSG. Yes, he allowed a goal via deflection, but there was nothing he could do about that play, as he was caught off guard. Nevertheless, MAtS was brilliant on the night, making great saves on all shots that came to him, in particular, on Cavani shots. Marc's save on Cavani's shot in the 69th minute was pure gold.
It's only a matter of time before MAtS is the every day goalkeeper at FC Barcelona. Until then, it's always a treat to see Ter Stegen shine whenever the Champions League (and Copa del Rey) comes around.
Xavi: the legend among us
Xavi equaled Iker Casillas as the player with the most Champions League matches played ever with 149 games played. Xavi surpasses Paolo Maldini as the player with most games ever in European competitions with 169 matches.
Xavi = Living legend
Xavi = Legend pic.twitter.com/59OHeLHN1R— 101 Great Goals (@101greatgoals) April 15, 2015
Luis Suarez: loves the big-game European stage
We all know Luis Suarez was always a big-game player. He's proven it in throughout his career, in particular, with the Uruguayan national team—helping his country reach the 2010 World Cup semis as well as winning the 2011 Copa América. Now with Barcelona, we are seeing Luis Suarez shine in the Champions League knockout stages.
Suarez's two goals in Manchester sunk Man City in the round of 16, and against PSG, Luisito once again grabbed a brace to sink the Parisians. Both of his goals were something special. The way he fought though the PSG defense to get his first goal was brilliant. But his second goal was one for the highlight reel and the most memorable goal by Barcelona so far in the Champions League. It doesn't take much to make a fool of David Luiz, but the way did it was just so amazing. Nutmegs all around.
And the finish to get the golazo?! Simply magical!
Nutmeg and FIinish pic.twitter.com/upgLelgSAq— Leo Messi (@messi10stats) April 15, 2015
Brutal pic.twitter.com/wKa0l2LWO9— Albert Rogé (@albert_roge) April 15, 2015
Remember when Suarez joined Barcelona, and some people said Luis wouldn't fit well with Messi, Neymar and this team...
Those people were right! Luis Suarez isn't fitting in well at Barcelona...he's fitting in great at Barcelona, helping them get closer to the ultimate prize in Europe!
Xoel's Final Word
FC Barcelona traveled to Paris, and showed the football world why they are one of, if not, the favorites to win this UEFA Champions League, as Barça defeated PSG 3-1 on Wednesday night.
The Parc des Princes saw a King-like performance by Barcelona.
The City of Lights saw Suarez shine the brightest.
ICI C'EST BARÇA!