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A SEMIS! FC Barcelona advances to Champions League semifinals, beats PSG 2-0

In this column, Xoel Càrdenas gives you his take on FC Barcelona's 2-0 win over PSG and advancing to the semifinals of the UEFA Champions League.

David Ramos/Getty Images

FC Barcelona is once again in the semifinals of the UEFA Champions League, as El Blaugrana defeated Paris Saint-Germain 2-0 on Tuesday night at the Camp Nou.

Neymar opened the scoring in the 14th minute thanks to an incredible run by Andrés Iniesta who got past three PSG challenges, found Neymar who ran toward goal, got around Salvatore Sirigu, and put the ball into the back of the net. Golazo, but that goal partially belongs to Don Andrés!

Neymar grabbed his brace in the 34th minute as a great cross by Dani Avles found Neymar in the box, unmarked, and the Brazilian wonder headed in a golazo to put Barcelona up 2-0.

Like in the second leg against Manchester City in the round of 16, Barcelona controlled the second half of the match, but no goals from either side in a rather slow second half.

Final: FC Barcelona 2-0 PSG

Barcelona advances to the semifinals with a 5-1 aggregate win.

The Champions League semifinal draw will be held on Friday, April 24th.

Xoel's Take

The defense...still good

In recent years, the Barcelona defense has been known to be a bit sloppy, to say the least. This season, the defense is solid and against PSG, the Barcelona defense shut down the Ligue 1 champions.

To think that Barcelona did not allow one earned goal from PSG in the tie is quite remarkable. Only Jeremy Mathieu's own goal is the lone bright spot for PSG in the scoreboard.

A big reason for Barcelona's defensive success has been Gerard Pique. Mr. Shakira has been a beast all season, and his leadership in the back line has been the reason the defense has been so stable.

Iniesta's back? He's never left!

Perhaps many of us have been too critical of Andrés Iniesta this season. With Luis Enrique's system changing things up, Iniesta doesn't run up into the box as much as he did in prior seasons, thus it give the appearance that he's lost a step. But Don Andrés has always been there and against PSG, Iniesta shined. His dribbling skills were on display all night long, including his run to step up Neymar for the opening goal.

What's more impressive?: Iniesta's dribbling or this needled-through pass to Neymar for the goal?

After the match, Iniesta responded back to all of his doubters and critics who've said he has disappeared this season:

Grande, Don Andrés!

El Show de Neymar

Once again, Neymar has torched PSG. The Brazilian was phenomenal on the night, grabbing a brace by halftime. Neymar reads the PSG defense so well, it's scary...well, at least if you're PSG.

Neymar has scored five goals in four matches against PSG.

With his goals, Neymar has now scored 30 goals for FC Barcelona this season. According to ESPN's Mr. Chip,  the combination of Lionel Messi and Neymar, with 46 and 30 goals respectively, is the second Barça duo to score 30+ official goals in a season, after Messi- Samuel Eto'o (38/36) in the 2008-09 season.

Remember that last season, Neymar scored only 15 goals. He's doubled that already and with more games to go.

There's no doubt that Luis Suarez's presence this season has helped open things up for Neymar, along with Messi's greatness. But make no mistake that Neymar's rise this season has been because he's simply growing and getting better as an overall player. The kid is 23 years old, and will only get better.

And this season, we're seeing Neymar rising.

Suarez and Messi quiet, but nothing to worry about

Perhaps what some people will criticize about Barcelona's 2-0 win is the fact that Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez were relatively quiet on the night.

I say: "Nothing to see here, people. Move along."

Yes, Leo nor Luisito scored, but they didn't need to nor were they clearly going 100% all out against PSG. I'm not saying they didn't care, I'm saying once Barcelona had the 2-0 lead, both Luis and Leo knew the tie was done and played this a bit more loosely. Is that wrong? I say no! Why should they risk getting even more tired or even risk pulling a muscle during the second half of a match that was already decided? It's not worth it.

To his credit, Messi nearly had a great goal late, but his shot went just wide of the post. Suarez was subbed off in the second half for Pedro to give "el pistolero" some rest.

Leo and Luis are fine. Barcelona is fine. And haters will pathetically continue to try and find some excuse.

Life is good in Catalunya.

Messi's impact in the Champions League KO stage

I'm sure some critics out in Madrid will play up the fact that Messi didn't score in the quarterfinals against PSG or in the round of 16 against Manchester City.

But those same critics are fools for not seeing that this is actually a testament to Messi's greatness: Barcelona are cruising into the semifinals of the Champions League without Messi having to score the goals. Leo is setting up his teammates and the offense to score goals.

Barcelona has easily eliminated the defending Premier League champions and Ligue 1 champions these past few months...all without a single goal from the greatest footballer of all time.

Once again, Lionel Messi's impact on the pitch has always been and will always be more than just goals; it's everything he does. His presence along changes all things on the pitch.

As Culés are saying: You can't spell "semis" without spelling "Messi".

Xoel's Final Word

Barça shined on Tuesday night, and it's now on to the semifinals.

Time to focus on La Liga and a meeting against Espanyol.

The road to a title is a long one.

Barcelona is closing in on the end of the road, and closer to a few titles.

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