Barcelona advance to the semi-finals of the Champions League for the 7th time in 8 seasons after another convincing performance against PSG.
A Neymar brace inside the opening 35 minutes put the tie firmly out of reach for the travelling team, who were looking to overturn their 3-1 1st leg loss. PSG hardly troubled Barcelona from the get-go, struggling to keep hold of the ball due to the home team’s excellent collective pressure high up the pitch.
It took Barcelona just 14 minutes to extend their lead from the 1st leg, and although it left PSG still needing 3 goals, it dealt them a heavy psychological blow to concede so early. Iniesta picked up the ball in his own half before going on a mesmerising run through midfield, where he then slotted the ball to Neymar who took the ball past Luiz with his first touch, rounded the keeper and slotted into the back of the net.
PSG failed to maintain possession and put together any form of attack, leaving Zlatan Ibrahimovic an isolated figure up the top. The Swede, returning from suspension, did have the ball in the back of the net in the first half, but he was correctly flagged for offside by the linesman in what was the only notable contribution from PSG in the opening 45 minutes.
Neymar added the second of the night in the 34th minute, punishing the poor defending of PSG which got them into trouble in the 1st leg in Paris. Dani Alves whipped in a left footed cross from the right hand side, only to find Neymar in acres of space between the 2 centre backs who easily headed home past Sirigu. It was the Brazilian’s 30th of the season, and the staggering 95th for the Barca front 3.
Barcelona took their foot off the gas for most of the second half, but still they continued to dominate possession and frustrate a tired PSG team. The travelling team had a few chances towards the end of the game, including a fizzing long range effort from Ibrahimovic, but these were comfortably dealt with and Laurent Blanc’s side would not be gifted a consolation goal.
PSG improved their defending as the match went on, but they were nearly unlocked once again by Messi, who had been quiet throughout, but he placed his low shot just wide of the post at the death of the match.
The referee brought the game to a close after what had been a lacklustre second half, but this was due to Barcelona’s excellence in the opening 45 minutes which put the tie to bed. They once again showed their class all over the pitch and the entire team dominated from the start. Their high pressure stopped PSG from getting out of 1st gear, and much like they did against Man City they looked a different class to their opposition.
The Catalan giants will find out on Friday who they will face in the semi-finals, with Bayern Munich the only team confirmed after they ruthlessly dismantled Porto and overturned their 1st leg deficit. The 2 teams from Madrid face off again tonight, as do Juventus and Monaco with the Italian team defending a 1 goal advantage.
Luis Enrique’s side will be confident whoever they face, but they will also now be weary of the threat that their former manager and his new team bring after such a rampant performance against Porto last night.