Football can be the cruellest of mistresses sometimes.
On another night, Barca could’ve have four or five goals in the first half alone, but sadly it wasn’t to be.
Once Messi had seen his spot-kick saved, it was always going to be an uphill struggle, but the entire team deserve great credit for maintaining their competitive edge right until the final whistle.
The effort put in easily matched - perhaps even surpassed - that against Sevilla, and with these kinds of performances becoming a regular habit, there’s every reason to believe that the rest of the season could end with the Catalans hoisting some silverware.
As it turned out, the game rested on two penalty decisions, both of which the VAR team got incorrect.
How Clement Lenglet can be adjudged to have deliberately fouled Mauro Icardi is a question that needs to be answered by the officials, as does their inability to spot that Marco Verrati was encroaching in the D when Messi missed his penalty.
C’est la vie. Before the game kicked off, nothing too much was expected, so the pride that everyone can feel after such a dominant display should be recognised.
Paris Saint-Germain, despite leading 4-1 from the first leg, can consider themselves incredibly lucky that Ousmane Dembele in particular didn’t have his shooting boots on. The Frenchman worked tirelessly too in an all-action display which deserved a goal.
One thing that perhaps wasn’t in-keeping with the match, but was hugely important, was the way Mingueza was hooked by Ronald Koeman before half-time.
9 - Paris have faced 9 shots on target in the first half against Barcelona, their highest tally in the first 45 minutes of a Champions League game since Opta analysed the competition (2003/04). Besieged. #PSGFCB pic.twitter.com/sMEhK0Fpf0— OptaJean (@OptaJean) March 10, 2021
No messing about. That is the type of management we have been looking for, and missing, for years now.
There is no room for sentiment in elite-level football, and perhaps by having someone as hard-nosed as Koeman is, even if it isn’t for the long term, is the best Barca can hope for at this moment given what’s gone before.
He has absolutely steadied the ship now, and there is a sense of him being able to building something special if he’s given the chance to do so by Joan Laporta.
The new president will surely have liked what he saw at the Parc des Princes. If he’s able to get the club in the position to make one or two solid additions without weakening the first-team squad significantly, who’s to say 2021/22 won’t be a successful campaign if we continue in the same way.
Will it be enough to convince Messi to stay? After that performance, you’d be surprised if he doesn’t quickly nail his colours to the blaugrana mast.