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Reality bites for Barcelona again in the Champions League

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The Catalan were well beaten by PSG

FC Barcelona v Paris Saint-Germain - UEFA Champions League Round Of 16 Leg One Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

It was all going so well.

The acid test was always going to come when the blaugranes faced up to Europe’s big boys of course.

Just as they did against Juventus, Barça collapsed and offered little. Were it not for Marc-Andre ter Stegen, the eight that Bayern had put past them last season might have been repeated.

Watch the highlights back and count the saves the German made on the night.

After such a great run of form as well as results, it was a real choker to lose so comprehensively.

FC Barcelona v Paris Saint-Germain - UEFA Champions League Round Of 16 Leg One Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

It does put a line in the sand, however. As good as anyone thought Barça were, the reality check came tonight.

They are woefully inept when it comes to defending against any team with a decent forward line, let alone one that has Kylian Mbappe on top form in it. The saving grace for the Catalans was that there was no Angel di Maria and Neymar.

Lionel Messi did what he could - again - but was let down particularly by Ousmane Dembele. How many of you thought of the Liverpool chance when he fluffed his lines again when well-placed?

Even at 2-0, it would’ve been difficult for the hosts to hold onto a clean sheet against a team that’s playing with a lot of confidence under Mauricio Pochettino.

It was noticeable that Dembele’s major contribution came in the 94th minute when he fired over Barça’s best cross of the night.

He’s been excellent these past few weeks, and it’s a real shame for him personally and the team collectively, that on a night that he and Antoine Griezmann had the chance to be centre-stage, they both fluffed their lines again.

FC Barcelona v Paris Saint-Germain - UEFA Champions League Round Of 16 Leg One Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images

If nothing else, that probably tells the club that they are two experimental signings that haven’t really worked to this point and are unlikely to in the future. Getting some money for them in the summer certainly isn’t out of the question.

On a brighter note, great to see Pique back in action and marshalling the back line. His rustiness showed at times, but he was, as ever, a calming and authoritative presence.

There’s not too much point dwelling on the result. What’s done is done and Barça are out of this season’s competition. Koeman would do well to just send a reserve side out for the second leg and concentrate on what else is available to win.

A comeback against Sevilla in the Copa del Rey is difficult but not impossible, and nor is a second-placed finish in La Liga. Perhaps even the title isn’t out of reach yet should Atleti get the jitters.

Tuesday’s result was certainly an opportunity missed, but was no real surprise at the same time.