It’s all over at the Camp Nou and PSG celebrate a famous victory. 4-1 up after the away leg is a dream position for this team and it’s not a scoreline that flatters them either. Kylian Mbappe was outstanding with his hat-trick, and Barcelona now have some soul-searching to do before the return leg in Paris in three weeks’ time.
- 2nd Half
- 1/2 Time
- 1st Half
- Messi (P)27'
FC Barcelona - Paris Saint-Germain
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Dembele slides a dangerous ball across the face of goal, but no Barca player can get on the end of it.
The fall-out from this game is not going to be pretty for Barcelona. They’ve got good enough players that they’ve had flashes of quality, but you have to say that PSG have looked the better side for most of the evening.
Messi tries to create something to give Barcelona a late boost, but his jinking run is halted in the box and his resulting corner is well-claimed by Navas.
The game is into the first of five minutes of added time.
4-1 up away from home, this is Paris’s tie to lose now. They’ll have to wait a while for the second leg though, with Barcelona not scheduled to travel to the French capital until March 10. Every year it catch me out how long this round-of-16 lasts!
What a performance this has been from PSG! They were good in the first half, but have stepped it up a gear after the break with Mbappe absolutely sensational throughout.
- GoalKylian MbappéParis Saint-Germain
GOOOAAALLL!!! It’s a hat-trick for Mbappe as he finishes off a counter-attack with a brilliant finish into the top corner. Draxler did well to hold onto the ball as he burst forward on the break, drawing in the defenders before teeing up Mbappe, but the finish was right out of the top drawer. 4-1!
What a let-off for Navas that is! The PSG keeper tries a cheeky flicked pass and it’s blocked by Griezmann, with the deflection very nearly nestling in the back of the net!
Dembele goes for goal from an angle and fires high and wide. He’s quite fortunate there aren’t fans in tonight, they wouldn’t have been impressed with that.
Barcelona are quite fortunate it’s just 3-1. They still have plenty of attacking threat, but defensively it’s been a bit shambolic at times tonight.
- OffSergiño DestFC Barcelona
- OnÓscar MinguezaFC Barcelona
Dest’s torrid evening trying to contain Mbappe is over as Koeman replaces him at right-back.
- GoalMoise KeanParis Saint-Germain
GOOOAAALLL!!! It’s another for PSG and it’s Moise Kean who’s got it. An excellent free-kick is asking for a finish, and Kean delivers with a good header. Nobody picked up his run in the Barcelona defence. 3-1.
Mbappe almost bags his hat-trick goal, only for the trailing leg of Ter Stegen to block his shot. He was given far too much space on the break again before squaring up Dest and hammering a shot towards goal.
They do look vulnerable at the back at times, but this has been an excellent performance so far by PSG, and they fully deserve their lead.
- GoalKylian MbappéParis Saint-Germain
GOOOAAALLL!!! PSG have the lead and it’s that man Mbappe who’s got it. Barca are ripped apart down their left, and Florenzi’s cross towards Icardi is only partially cleared, with the loose ball falling at the feet of Mbappe. It’s the best possible player for PSG to have on the end of his chance and he keeps his cool to slot home. 2-1 PSG!
Pedri’s clipped cross catches Kean on the edge of the box, possibly on the arm. But the referee waves play on. There was so little time for Kean to react that any handball there would have been completely unavoidable.
A whipped corner from Messi finds Griezmann beyond the back post, but it’s a tricky one for him to get a good connection on and he’s unable to turn a header back on target.
Messi looks to curl his free-kick into the top corner, but the wall does its job and deflects the shot away for a corner. Justice was probably done after the dodgy original decision.
Messi goes down after the ball has gone and it’s a free-kick in a very dangerous area. PSG are pretty upset about that decision, and there wasn’t very much in it in truth.
There’s so much space for both teams in the final third, but – as it was in the first half – it’s PSG who look the better of the two sides. Worryingly for Barcelona we’re seeing more and more of Mbappe on the ball in dangerous areas, and it looks like the visitors might have slightly tweaked his role to get him into space.
Ter Stegen makes a great save as Kean’s deflected shot forces him to readjust. Strangely, the chance for Kean came from a selfless flick from Icardi who was probably in a better position to take on the shot. It all came, again, from great work by Mbappe.
Mbappe jinks onto his right foot and curls a shot narrowly wide from outside the box. He’s been superb tonight the PSG forward.
- OffIdrissa GueyeParis Saint-Germain
- OnAnder HerreraParis Saint-Germain
Gueye has indeed made way at the break, with Herrera coming on in his place. That’s a wise move by Pochettino; Gueye had played nicely but he was in real danger of picking up a second booking.
The half-time whistle goes as Barcelona stroke the ball around in midfield. It’s 1-1 at the break after a fascinating opening 45 minutes. More of the same in the second half please!
Icardi skims the side-netting with a header from a corner and that should have been a goal really. PSG will feel they should be leading this game at the break and on balance have certainly had the better of the chances.
Ooh, Gueye is a lucky boy. The midfielder goes in late on Busquets, who does the PSG man a favour by making very little of the challenge (yeah sure, like you’re going to believe that, he went down like he was shot of course). It’s a risky foul that, especially on a booking already, and the referee has a long chat with Gueye. That’ll be a final warning and Pochettino will surely have to think about replacing him for the second half just as a precaution.
Ter Stegen makes another decent save to deny Kean’s snap-shot as PSG continue to build pressure. They’ve been terrific since the equaliser, but all of that attacking intent is allowing space for Messi and co to exploit on the break. This game has exploded into life a bit, let’s hope it continues because it really is great fun (speaking as a neutral).
Messi puts Griezmann into space on the break. The French forward looks for support from Dembele, but the pass just isn’t on so he pushes to the edge of the box and has a shot himself. The ball takes a sliver of paint with it as it slides narrowly wide.
Oof, this game is ticking now. Kurzawa, who played a key role in setting up the equaliser, again drifts into space in behind Dembele and almost bags a second for PSG, drawing a fingertip stop from Ter Stegen as his shot arrows towards the bottom corner.
- GoalKylian MbappéParis Saint-Germain
GOOOAAALLL!!! Kylian Mbappe you beautiful player, what a finish that is! Barca switch off and Mbappe’s quick feet send him into space in the box before he rockets his shot past a helpless Ter Stegen. That all happened so fast that Barca could barely react. World-class. 1-1!
Mbappe tries a clever flicked finish from a cross slightly behind him, but the effort is blocked.
A foul is given in midfield but Messi doesn’t hear the whistle (if we’re giving him the benefit of the doubt) and goes for goal, shooting narrowly over. PSG look rattled since that penalty and Messi has already got into two dangerous positions since converting from the spot.
- Goal by penaltyLionel MessiFC Barcelona
GOOOAAALLL!!! Nobody is saving that. Messi hammers the spot-kick into the top corner and it's 1-0 to Barcelona.
The decision stands after Kurzawa tripped De Jong in the box. It’s Messi to take it…
Or is it??? VAR are investigating...
Messi’s back-heel in the box almost finds Griezmann, who goes down under a strong challenge, but Barca’s penalty appeals are waved away… and correctly so looking at the replays.
- Yellow cardIdrissa GueyeParis Saint-Germain
Gueye goes into the book for dragging down Pedri in the centre of the park. He took one for the team a bit there after giving the ball away initially, but for a play like Gueye it’s not ideal to have this long to play on a booking against a team with somebody like Messi in it.
Oh my! Icardi should score, but he horribly miscues his shot when in acres of space inside the box after being picked out by Mbappe. That should be the opener for PSG and Icardi looks to the heavens in frustration.
That is pure class from Barcelona. Messi drops deep and immediately pulls the PSG defence out of shape. The ball is worked through to Griezmann by Pedri, but he can’t quite find the finish from a tricky angle and Navas makes a good save before grabbing the ball at the second attempt to prevent a follow-up opportunity.
Gueye wins the ball in midfield and finds Kean, who bursts beyond one defender into the box but can’t quite get past the second to open up room for a shot. It’s lively from the wide forward though; he’s a clear threat.
Barca get a chance to push forward, but a rather aimless cross into the box drifts harmlessly away from trouble. The hosts have settled a little though after that shaky start, and it’s now got that big-game feel of two teams sizing each other up.
Verratti threads a pass through the lines and Gueye tries to set Kean away. However the ex-Everton pair aren’t quite on the same wavelength.
PSG have made a really impressive start and create space in the final third again as Icardi jinks away from his man and finds Gueye in midfield. The former Everton man goes for goal and shoots harmlessly wide, but there were encouraging signs there for the Parisians.
The visitors are almost in straight away as a ball over the top threatens to pick out a dangerous run from Mbappe. He’d got himself into space, but the sweeping Ter Stegen narrowly beats him to the ball.
- 1st Half
Here we go, it’s PSG, kitted out in all-white, get the game underway against Barcelona in their traditional strip.
One big-name player who won’t be making an appearance tonight is Neymar, who sits out the reunion with his former club due to injury. The Brazilian put out a short statement on Instagram about his absence, saying:
" The sadness is great, the pain is immense and the crying is constant."
Typically understated from Neymar there.
For Barca one of the big issues this season has been the ongoing tension between the board and Lionel Messi, not helped by the conveniently leaked copy of the Argentine’s contract…
Barcelona are not the behemoth they once were and are enduring a bit of a torrid time of it in La Liga by their own high standards. A string of wins on the bounce has seen them move back up into the top three, but they are still eight points behind league leaders Atletico Madrid having played a game more.
Mauricio Pochettino has already won a trophy at PSG (the Trophee des Champions, basically the French Super Cup) but there will always be doubts over the Argentine’s pedigree at the very top of the game until he wins something big. For more on that, check out this thought-provoking opinion piece from the mind of esteemed Eurosport contributor Alex Netherton…
Paris are facing a bit of a challenge for Ligue 1 dominance from Lille, Lyon and Monaco this season, but are currently just a point off the top and are still favourites to take the title. However, defeat in last year’s Champions League final is what the club hierarchy hope was that start of a rich European history and not a fleeting flirtation with the big-eared trophy.
PSG make two changes from the side that started against nice, with Alessandro Florenzi and Marco Verratti replacing Thilo Kehrer and Julian Draxler. Eagle-eyed amongst you will have already spotted that the fourth-member of the star-studded Paris attack is a certain Moise Kean, on loan at the club from Everton.
Barca make five largely expected changes, with Jordi Alba, Sergino Dest, Pedri and Ousmane Dembele. The big news is the return of Gerard Pique after a lengthy spell out with a knee injury. He has been very much missed.
The other game in this competition tonight sees RB Leipzig and Liverpool facing off in Budapest due to Covid restrictions, but there’s no such issue here and PSG have made the journey down to Barcelona.
Anyone else glad for a change of entertainment? After what has seemed like relentless Premier League football for months now (interspersed with a dash of FA Cup and a hint of Netflix), the Champions League makes a triumphant-ish return this evening to freshen things up. I’ll be bringing you build-up, reaction to the team news and full coverage of the game over the next few hours. Thanks for joining, good to see you all.