NEWS
Tuesday February 14 2017
Peerless PSG embarrass Barca

Barcelona are all-but-out of the Champions League after they were utterly humilated 4-0 by a dominant Paris Saint-Germain in Tuesday’s last-16 first leg.

A birthday brace from Angel Di Maria inspired PSG to a hugely-deserved victory over Barca, with goals from Julian Draxler and Edinson Cavani rounding off the rout and seemingly finishing off the Catalans, who were outplayed, outclassed and outfought.

Ivan Rakitic was benched for an otherwise full-strength Blaugrana against the Thiago-Silva-less French giants, who handed a European debut to young defender Presnel Kimpemba and started without Lucas Moura.

History was on Barca’s side, given the Catalans had won their last two European knockout ties against PSG.

Sergi Roberto replaced the injured Aleix Vidal at right-back for Barca, and the cantera was horribly exposed from the outset, although he received little in the way of protection from Andre Gomes.

Blaise Matuidi got in behind the Barca defence and bent a shot on target that forced Ter Stegen to acrobatically tip over.

Barca struggled with the high press as PSG followed Atletico Madrid’s lead in preventing the visitors from finding MSN.

Their goal soon came when Di Maria lifted the free kick up and over the wall, leaving Ter Stegen with no chance of scrambling across.

Straight at the other end, Neymar split the PSG defence in half as he threaded through Andre Gomes, but the midfielder’s low finish was pushed away by Trapp.

PSG broke back quickly through Draxler, who bypassed Sergi Roberto with a stepover down the left of Barca’s box, but his shot at Ter Stegen’s near post was tipped around the post by the goalkeeper.

Adrien Rabiot, clearly instructed to manmark Lionel Messi, pickpocketed the Argentine near the halfway line. Draxler then received the ball down the right and angled a driven finish across Ter Stegen.

Worryingly for Barca, Messi appeared half-hearted in his demeanour off the ball. Di Maria, however, proceeded to curl the ball into the top-left corner of Ter Stegen’s goal from a free kick.

Moments later, Cavani looked to slide a cross past Ter Stegen at the goalkeeper’s near post but came a whisker away.

Unai Emery’s hosts found things so comfortable that the former Sevilla Coach could afford to bring off Di Maria with half an hour still to play.

That was quickly followed by Thomas Meunier dinking a ball through the Barca backline for Cavani to blast past Ter Stegen.

The visitors had two consolatory chances towards the end, yet Neymar flicked a half-volley wide with the outside of his boot, while Samuel Umtiti knocked Gerard Pique’s looping header ball onto the post.

Paris Saint-Germain 4-0 Barcelona

Di Maria 18, 55, Draxler 40, Cavani 71

Paris Saint-Germain: Trapp; Meunier, Marquinhos, Kimpembe, Kurzawa; Verratti (Nkunku 70), Rabiot, Matuidi; Di Maria (Lucas 61), Cavani, Draxler (Pastore 86)

Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Sergi, Pique, Umtiti, Alba; Gomes (Rafinha 58), Busquets, Iniesta (Rakitic 73); Messi, Suarez, Neymar

Referee: Marcinak (POL)

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