15 February 2017
Barcelona slumped to a disappointing 4 – 0 defeat in Paris in the hands of Paris Saint Germain (PSG) on Tuesday evening.
With the result PSG raced to pole position in their bid to qualify for the quarter-final ahead of the more fancied La Liga side. With the result PSG also became only the sixth team to score four goals in a Champions League match versus Barcelona. The other teams to have attained this feat are Chelsea, Bayern Munich, AC Milan, Valencia and Dynamo Kiev.
The home team though didn’t dominate possession dominated the game with more intent whenever they have the ball with precise and swift attacking moves.
Barcelona on the other hand had a little more of the ball than their host but looked at loss at what to do with it more often than not.
However, everytime Neymar is with the ball Barcelona’s attack spark into life, but couldn’t do much, thanks to a compact PSG defence and a lackluster duo of Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez.
Having created a couple of chances in the early stages of the first half, PSG took the lead in the 18th minute from a brilliant freekick from birthday boy, Angel di Maria.
Samuel Umtiti had brought Julian Draxler down on the edge of the box with an unnecessary foul to give di Maria a clean chance at putting the home side ahead. The former Real Madrid man did just that as he curled the ball over the wall and into the begging net with Ter Stegen rooted to the spot.
PSG continued their dominance and made it two in the 40th minute. Draxler who won the freekick for the first goal scored on this occasion.
After Messi was dispossessed in midfield, the impressive Marco Verrati advanced with the ball and slipped a clever pass to the German star who made no mistake from about 10 yards.
Draxler who joined PSG in January has played in three competitions for his new club and he has scored on all his debuts.
With PSG up by two goals at half time, Barcelona went into the dugout hoping to come out and bag an away goal that will at least give them a life line in the second leg at Camp Nou.
This wasn’t to be as Barcelona continued their lackluster performance with no probable hope of help from the bench. Barcelona’s bench didn’t comprise of players with the ability to bring the lacking energy in their game.
PSG were not done yet and scored their third 10 minutes from the restart thanks to another brilliant goal from di Maria.
Messi’s international team mate curled the ball into the top left corner after he dribbled past Andres Iniesta to create ample space for a shot.
Edison Cavani who had been quite wasteful on the night made it four in the 71st minute for his 7th goal in 7 games in the Champions League this season.
The Uruguayan striker who is also Europe’s current highest goal scorer took his total tally to 34. Cavani shot with power into the near post after taking a pass from full-back Meunier who had left Neymar for dead in his wake after he dribbled past him on the touchline and raced all of 40 yards with no Barcelona player coming close to challenge him for the ball. Under no pressure at all, he slid the ball to Cavani who made no mistake.
In the other fixture of the night Benfica defeated Borrusia Dortmund 1 – 0 in Portugal in a keenly contested match.
Dortmund had a good chance of leaving Portugal with a win or at least a point but didn’t thanks to the wasteful Aubameyang who missed a penalty and a clear chance with only the keeper at his mercy.
Benfica’s Mitroglou scored the only goal of the match almost immediately after the restart in the 48th minute. Luisao headed down a corner kick which the striker brought down with his leg and slotted into the open net.
That is the striker’s 13th goal in 13 games for Benfica.