Barca beaten by PSG

Barcelona suffered a first defeat of the season and lost their clean sheet record in a 3-2 Champions League reverse against Paris Saint-Germain.

La Blaugrana hadn’t conceded in their previous fixtures but some ropey set-piece defending and sloppiness across the pitch was exploited by PSG, who pressed from the front and never let Barca settle.

David Luiz netted after getting goal side of Javier Mascherano from a free kick, controlling with his right foot then slotting past Marc-Andre Ter Stegen with his left, the first time this season a Barca goalkeeper picked had conceded.

The lead lasted less than two minutes after Andres Iniesta teed up Lionel Messi, who sent a crisp finish past Salvatore Sirigu at the end of a slick team move.

Barca were behind again before the break when Ter Stegen was flat-footed when coming out for Thiago Motta’s corner and Marco Verratti got space from Ivan Rakitic, the Italian’s header nestling into the net.

It was 3-1 before the hour when Gregory van der Wiel angled the ball across the Barca goal for Blaise Matuidi but Barca got back in it immediately when Dani Alves’ cross fell to Neymar, who stroked into the far corner from 12 yards.

Luis Enrique made four changes to the side that routed Granada, including Ter Stegen replacing Claudio Bravo in goal, while Laurent Blanc was without former Barca striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

The opening stages saw more mistakes than usual in Barca’s play, possession turned over repeatedly. An altogether more costly error gave Luiz space to open the scoring but the deficit was cancelled out immediately thanks to Messi’s super goal.

Mascherano was more commanding in dealing with a wicked van der Wiel cross, a sign of things to come and one not heeded by Barca.

PSG’s lead lasted a little longer the second time around, after Ivan Rakitic let Verratti get away from him and Ter Stegen got nowhere near the corner. Lucas Moura’s burst of pace past Jeremy Mathieu almost drew a penalty for the home side, one of many uncomfortable moments the Brazilian gave the Barca defence.

Edinson Cavani nearly turned into a scoring chance early in the second half as Barca struggled to get back into the game, PSG dominating possession. Moura continued to cause havoc, particularly when up against Jordi Alba.

It was down Barca’s left the third goal game, van der Wiel coming up with another excellent ball with Matuidi on hand to give PSG a two-goal lead – briefly. Neymar came to the party moments after, knocking past Sirigu with his first real contribution of the game.

An Alves dart down the line and cross went begging and Xavi Hernandez was introduced, a record-breaking 143 Champions League appearance, as Barca looked for an equaliser. Iniesta scooped a left-footed shot over the bar, a presentable chance given how Barca toiled.

PSG retained a threat on the break but Barca kept pushing, Marquinhos making an astonishing block to snuff out a chance for Alba before Munir El-Haddadi hit the post with a powerful long-range drive and Sandro Ramirez fired wide.

It wasn’t to be for Barca, who next face a double-header against Ajax, the outcome of which will determine their Champions League future.

Paris Saint-Germain 3-2 Barcelona

Luiz 9, Verratti 26, Matuidi 54 (PSG), Messi 10, Neymar 55 (FCB)

Paris Saint-Germain: Sirigu; Van der Wiel, Marquinhos, David Luiz, Maxwell; Verratti (Cabaye 71), Motta, Matuidi, Pastore (Chantome 86); Lucas Moura (Bambeck 90), Cavani

Barcelona: Ter Stegen, Dani Alves (Sandro 82), Mathieu, Mascherano, Jordi Alba; Busquets, Rakitic (Xavi 69), Iniesta; Pedro (Munir 62), Neymar, Messi

Referee: Nicola Rizzoli

Tags Paris Saint-Germain
La Liga - Club News