Paris Saint-Germain enjoyed a stunning 4-0 victory over Barcelona in their Champions League round of 16 first leg.
1. Blistering PSG blow Barca away
After so many false dawns in the Champions League, could this be Paris Saint-Germain’s season?
Few who witnessed this could bet against it: Unai Emery’s side blew Barcelona away with a scintillating performance that felt like a changing of the established order. Two wonderful finishes from Angel Di Maria, along with crisp drives from Julian Draxler and Edinson Cavani, sent Barcelona spiraling to a 4-0 defeat and, in truth, the damage could have been even greater. Assuming they see out the second leg, a huge psychological block might just have been removed from the French champions.
A pulsating atmosphere inside the Parc des Princes demanded a fast start from the home side, and it got one. Within four minutes, Marc-Andre ter Stegen raced well out of his goal to prevent Blaise Matuidi reaching an Di Maria pass, and moments later they carved Barcelona open again.
Cavani might have taken another Di Maria ball on his left foot but instead checked inside and allowed Sergi Roberto to block. It was relentless stuff from PSG, and in the 11th minute, Matuidi burst into the left side of the box only for Ter Stegen to save.
The question, at that early stage, was whether they could possibly keep this tempo up. It was answered six minutes later when Samuel Umtiti fouled Julian Draxler, who had turned him 2 yards outside the box. The position seemed perfect for Di Maria’s left foot and his subsequent shot, lifted over the wall past a motionless Ter Stegen, proved the impression correct.