Paris Saint Germain thrashed Barcelona 4-1 in the Champion’s League round-of-16 first leg on Tuesday with Kylian Mbappe’s stunning hat-trick. PSG registered 4 away goals at Camp Nou as Messi’s team loses sight of the Champion’s League trophy this year as well.
Lionel Messi was the first one to score from the penalty spot at the 27th minute. However, PSG was quick to respond as Mbappe levelled the score within 5 minutes of the opener. The first half ended with 1-1, however, it was the second half that changed everything. Mbappe looked phenomenal as he went on to score the 2nd goal for himself and the team in the 65th minute. It was followed by Moise Kean’s brilliant header at the 70th minute. To seal the deal, Mbappe once again blasted a magnificent shot from right outside the box and left the Barcelona’s defense baffled.
This came as a major blow for Barcelona as there will have a daunting task at their hands for the second leg. Barcelona had previously overcame a 4-0 defeat against PSG in 2017 while winning the second leg with 6-1. So, Cules can definitely hope for another miracle and expect a magical Messi performance to overcome the crisis. However, the man of the match of La Remontada, Neymar will be playing for PSG this time who transferred from Barca to PSG the same year. Due to injury, the Brazilian sensation was unable to play the first leg. But, he is expected to return on March 10 for the second leg which can be a huge roadblock in the way of Barca’s comeback.
Barca coach Ronald Koeman had no complaints about the defeat and showed a rather pessimistic attitude during the post-match press conference. “The result reflect how superior PSG were, they were much more effective than us. I could tell you lies but the fact is that at 4-1 down from the home leg, there are very few chances of going through,” said the Dutchman.
Barca’s last Champions League knockout game was the humiliating 8-2 defeat against Bayern Munich in last year’s quarter-finals. However, this time things looked a lot better for the Catalans as the went into the CL first leg with 7 La Liga wins in a row and Gerard Pique in the defence line-up who returned after a 3-month absence.
However, Mauricio Pochettino’s men were more than ready to take on the Spanish juggernauts despite missing their forward Neymar and key winger Di Maria. The last year’s runners up for the Champions League trophy showed their brilliance on the pitch without their being on their full strength. This leaves a great question for Messi’s side as they continue to struggle for far too long.
The night simply belonged to the Frenchman, Kylian Mbappe who became the first player to score a visiting hat-trick at the Camp Nou since Andriy Shevchenko in 1997. After winning the man of the match award, Mbappe said, “I’ve always wanted to give the best of myself with PSG, this shirt means a lot to me. I haven’t always succeeded and maybe I’ll have bad games, but I’ve never been someone to hide, even if I make mistakes.”