Image Source: Reuters
Luis Suarez was magnificent in Barcelona’s 3-1 victory, which saw the Catalan giants take a huge step to advancing to the semi finals. Barcelona looked confident and assured from the get-go, and PSG will now have to score at least 3 goals at Camp Nou if they are to salvage their Champions League campaign.
Neymar opened the scoring in Paris with a well placed goal after 18 minutes, and then Luis Suarez stole the show with a superb brace that saw him nutmeg David Luiz on both occasions. PSG can take some hope into the second leg following Jeremy Mathieu’s late own goal, but Barcelona have looked in scintillating form of late and they will be galvanised by Bayern Munich’s loss to Porto, as well as the unconvincing play of Real Madrid.
Image Source: Martin Bureau/AFP/Getty Images
After settling quickly, Barca fired a warning shot when Messi’s curling effort from 20 yards struck the post. They would not have to wait long to find the back of the net however, with Messi finding Neymar with a through ball for the Brazilian to coolly slot past Sirigu.
PSG, whose night started off badly after slipping to 2nd in Ligue 1, were then dealt another blow when Thiago Silver was forced off early which forced Laurent Blanc to bring on a recovering David Luiz. Despite this blow, and playing out without star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, PSG managed to battle their way into the game after the break. The Barca keeper did well to push away Javier Pastore’s effort, before again saving from Rabiot.
Suarez then took over the game by nutmegging David Luiz with his first touch, before going on a slinking run into the box and poking past Sirigu. PSG then almost fired back when Cavani, who had been a bystander for most of the match, lashed a volley at goal which was brilliantly saved by Ter Stegen. Suarez then punctuated what was a woeful night for PSG when he added his second, and Barcelona’s third of the night with a sensational effort. David Luiz was once again left with his head in his hands after Suarez nutmegged the Brazilian for the second time that night to put him clear, and he then curled a stunning effort into the top corner leaving Sirigu no chance.
A deflated PSG were given a lifeline with 8 minutes remaining when Van der Wiel fired at goal, only for it to take a deflection off Mathieu and into the back of the net. Despite being thoroughly outplayed for the majority of the match, this goal and the return of Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Marco Verratti for next week’s leg will give Laurent Blanc’s side some hope.
Barcelona took advantage of poor PSG defending and looked firmly in control the majority of the game. Suarez stole the show with 2 brilliant goals, but it was another excellent team performance and their talent all over the pitch showed. Judged on current form, the Catalan giants will consider themselves favourites to lift the Champions League trophy once again.
They must first take care of business back at home next week, but this convincing performance is likely to be enough to see them return to the semi-finals for seventh time in eight seasons.