Barcelona’s run in this season’s Champions League will most likely stop at the Round of 16 thanks to another European embarrassment as the Blaugrana lost 4-1 to Paris Saint-Germain at Camp Nou. After competing for 45 minutes Barça completely fell apart in the second half, and Kylian Mbappé ran riot and scored a hat-trick to not only win the first leg, but wrap up the tie for PSG.
The first half was all kinds of fun from the beginning, with both teams looking to press and attack, and the chances came early and often. Pedri had a clearance off the line on a shot from Mauro Icardi, and Antoine Griezmann required a good save from Keylor Navas at the end of a great team move.
Barça had a more direct approach than PSG and weren’t afraid to use fewer passes to build their attacks, and on a long ball in the direction of Frenkie De Jong the Blaugrana got a penalty thanks to a silly challenge by Layvin Kurzawa. Lionel Messi stepped up to the spot with confidence and buried the kick to give Barça the lead.
Unfortunately the lead didn’t last long thanks to a piece of individual brilliance by Mbappé, who received a pass from Marco Verratti inside the box, showed great skill to dribble past Gerard Piqué and Clément Lenglet and fired a rocket into the roof of the net to make it 1-1.
At halftime an intense and highly entertaining game of football was all square, with more fun promised for the second half.
The second half was all about Mbappé. Barça simply had no answer for the Frenchman, who kept outrunning Sergiño Dest on the wing time and time again and forcing Barça into last-ditch tackles, and the Blaugrana defense looked more and more vulnerable as time went on.
The home team couldn’t attack anymore, and the pressure continued to grow until Paris finally took the lead: a long ball found Alessandro Florenzi all alone inside the box and after his cross was poorly cleared by Piqué, Mbappé was first to the ball and scored his second of the game. Just five minutes later, Moise Kean scored a free header and PSG had a two-goal lead.
Barça tried to make substitutions to become more attacking but that only made them more open to PSG counter attacks, and it was a devastating counter that sealed the deal after an assist for Julian Draxler and Mbappé’s third of the night.
Barcelona: Ter Stegen, Dest (Mingueza 71’), Piqué (Pedri 79’), Lenglet, Alba; De Jong, Busquets (Pjanic 79’), Pedri (Trincão 79’); Dembélé, Messi, Griezmann (Braithwaite 85’)
Goal: Messi (28’ pen.)
PSG: Navas; Florenzi (Kehrer 89’), Marquinhos, Kimpembe, Kurzawa; Gueye (Herrera 46’), Paredes, Verratti; Kean (Danilo 85’), Icardi, Mbappé
Goals: Mbappé (32’, 65’, 85’), Kean (70’)