PSG thrash Barcelona 4-0
- Author: Julie Sanders Feb 15, 2017,
Feb 15, 2017, 11:49
The fantasy football began on 18 minutes when Di Maria curled in a free-kick, and five minutes before the break the impressive Julian Draxler doubled PSG's advantage with a low angled drive.
The first 45 was all PSG.
Another birthday boy, Edinson Cavani then completed the Valentine's Day massacre with the fourth after 72 minutes, to all but put the Parisians into the last eight. He is no longer second fiddle to Zlatan Ibrahimovic and is playing like a free spirit. The Basque is an expert at exploiting rivals' weakness and even though he had overseen only one victory in 24 matches against Barca prior to this, he had always caused them problems. The home support were in good voice around the Parc des Princes.
"We played a great game individually and collectively, with tremendous backing from the fans", he said.
Perhaps he was being diplomatic.
While Neymar was perhaps the only Barcelona player to emerge with his reputation still intact after a terrible night in the French capital, Enrique shouldered the blame for a wretched performance. "I expect PSG to be audacious, with their fans behind them, and they will make life hard for us". "We were obviously inferior tonight".
The Catalans tried to hit PSG back with what could have been a priceless away goal but Gomes was unable to find a way past Kevin Trapp after a rapid counter had left Les Parisiens exposed. The only man Luis Enrique will be without is midfielder Aleix Vidal, who will miss the rest of the season due to nasty ankle injury picked up in La Liga.
Despite this, Emery stressed a degree of caution ahead of the return leg at the Nou Camp, urging his side to prepare for 90 minutes of suffering.
Messi has been ruining players his entire career by nutmegging them - we're looking at you, James Milner - but he got a taste of his own medicine by the young Frenchman at the Parc des Princes. Neither did Suarez or Neymar.
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.
Borussia Dortmund played awful football against Benfica as they lost the first leg tie 1-0. It was Di Maria yet again and this time, he managed to fid the back of the net from outside the box.
It was an unforgettable night in PSG's European history. The side reached the semifinals only once, in 1995, the year before it won its only trophy, the now defunct European Cup Winners' Cup.
On this form, the current side looks like a title candidate. Adrien Rabiot was outstanding in the destroyer role, ably abetted by Blaise Matuidi-the duo combined to swarm Barcelona in midfield, throwing the usually influential Sergio Busquets off his game.
Di Maria played with relentless energy, causing Barcelona enormous problems with his cross-field runs.
"With his mentality and knowledge of the game, I think we are better equipped than we have been in our recent matches against Barcelona".
Barcelona hadn't lost a Champions League contest by a four-goal margin since 2013, when they fell to Bayern Munich in the semi-final.