After a 1-1 draw in the second leg in Paris on Wednesday, Paris Saint-Germain survived an upset-minded Barcelona to advance to the Champions League quarterfinals, 5-2 on aggregate.
Barcelona dominated play in the first half, but it was PSG who struck first through Kylian Mbappe after he was awarded a penalty for going down under minimal contact near the half-hour mark. The France international converted from eight yards with ease.
Mbappe became the youngest player in Champions League history to score 25 goals (22 years and 80 days).
Lionel Messi responded seven minutes later with a spectacular goal, picking up a pass near midfield, taking a couple of touches, and unleashing a thunderous strike past a helpless Keylor Navas from 30 yards out.
Since 2010-11, he has scored 14 UCL goals from outside the area, tying Cristiano Ronaldo for the most in that time. The goal also ended a five-game scoreless streak in UCL knockout matches on the road, and it was his first since scoring at Chelsea on Feb. 20, 2018.
Messi had to chance to pile more pressure on PSG before the break when Antoine Griezmann won a penalty in stoppage time. But Navas guessed correctly and pushed the Argentine’s attempt onto the crossbar to keep the match even at half-time.
In the second half, Barcelona continued to cause PSG problems by attacking in waves and constantly pulling defenders out of position. They were unable to convert their numerous chances into goals, and were eliminated in the round of 16 for the first time since the 2006-07 season.
“We went through a lot in the first half, and it was a psychological test for us. I got the impression that the past was frequently discussed here ” Mauricio Pochettino
“We were more competitive in the second half, and we were better.”
Ronald Koeman, the coach of Barcelona, tried to maintain a positive attitude.
“We are departing this Champions League in a very different manner from the way we did last season. In this game, we hit our level and that’s the road we have to follow,” said Koeman, referring to the team’s 8-2 aggregate defeat in the quarter-finals by Bayern Munich last year.
The draw for the quarterfinals will take place on March 19.
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