Barcelona travelled to Paris dreaming of another remontada. One of their greatest European nights occurred against Paris Saint-Germain back in 2017, when they came back from losing the first leg of their Champions League last 16 clash to go through on aggregate. They couldn’t repeat the trick on Wednesday evening, however, drawing 1-1 to go out of Europe 5-2 on aggregate.
Barcelona had lost the first leg 4-1 at Camp Nou last month, with Kylian Mbappe scoring a hat-trick. Ronald Koeman’s men have been on a good run of form since, however, and it was amidst this attitude they pulled up at Parc des Princes. Barcelona started well, too, peppering Keylor Navas in the PSG goal in pursuit of that crucial opener. Ousmane Dembele, playing in his home country, was a constant threat, but it was Sergino Dest who came closest early doors. The right-back had an effort on goal tipped onto the crossbar by Navas in the 23rd minute.
Mbappe was the one who opened the scoring, however, converting a penalty kick on the stroke of the half hour mark to put PSG into a pivotal early lead. Barcelona struck back through a Lionel Messi golazo. The Argentine picked up the ball some distance out before unleashing a powerful effort past Navas and into the top-left corner of the net. Messi had the chance to make it 2-1 just before half-time, but his penalty was tipped on to the bar by Navas and kept out. It was a moment that would prove decisive in the tie and Barcelona’s European campaign.
“We showed our faces and played a great game,” Antoine Griezmann said post-match in comments carried by Mundo Deportivo. “We missed chances, that’s a shame. We had four clear opportunities and then the penalty. In the second half it was more difficult, they defended deeper. Now we have La Liga and the Copa [del Rey], they’re our goals.
“The game has given us confidence for what is coming, but we feel terrible because we wanted to progress. I think that the supporters don’t deserve to see us leave so soon, but we’ll return next year with the intention of winning. I feel very good, with my teammates and the coach. I’m here to help, be it ten minutes or 90. I’m at the service of the collective.”