Barcelona claimed a 3-1 at big-spending French giants PSG in the Champions League quarter-finals first leg at the Parc des Princes on Wednesday night.
The game displayed the gulf in class and European experience between the two teams.
Once again a Barcelona win was inspired by their outstanding front three of Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suarez.
Neymar opened the scoring from a Messi through-ball, before Suarez scored a fantastic second half brace.
A late own goal from Barcelona centre-back Jeremy Mathieu gave the French side a glimmer of hope in the tie.
If the opposition keep Messi quiet then they have to stop the other South American dynamic duo. PSG could not and the Catalan giants made them pay. PSG kept Messi off the score sheet, but they could not stop his attacking colleagues.
Suarez and Neymar were expensive signings, but they could prove priceless for Luis Enrique’s team in seasons to come. Messi, Suarez and Neymar are considered the dream attacking trio and they are working as well on grass as they do on paper.
Suarez’s abilities complement those of Messi and Neymar perfectly. When the Uruguayan joined Barcelona some were questioning whether the Catalan giants needed the striker.
There are now very few questioning the wisdom of signing the former-Liverpool striker, as he has proved through his assists and goals this season that he is a Barcelona player without doubt. Suarez has now scored 18 goals this season and also has ten assists.
French giants PSG have spent big in an attempt to become as big as the likes of Barcelona, Bayern Munich, or Real Madrid. That money has paid off in that the French club have made it out of the group stages of the Champions League in the past couple of seasons.
The PSG owners are striving to make the Parisians a dominant force in European football. They have strengthened their team enough to win the Ligue One and defeat the lesser teams in the Champions League.
However, Barcelona are one of three teams who are superpowers of the European game and the French club are not quite ready to threaten the superpowers. That was proved by last night’s rather comprehensive result.
One thing PSG do not yet have is much history of success in European competition. Their only European trophy came in season 1995/96 in the Cup Winners Cup. In fact PSG is a club that is less than a century old, so the owners are fighting a losing battle in attempting battle to put the club alongside the likes of Bayern Munich, Real Madrid and Barcelona.
Last night’s defeat was PSG’s first in 34 home European matches at the Parc De Princes, which proves that the French club have made big strides in recent years on the European stage. However, they are not quite on the same level as Barcelona, but not many team are.
Laurent Blanc’s side now have a mountain to climb to get back into this tie in the second leg in two weeks time. The Nou Camp is a hard place to visit for opposition teams and the Parisians now have to claim at least a three goal win to progress into the last four of the competition.
If PSG do exit the Champions League at the quarter-finals stage then maybe they will have gained more valuable European experience, just like last season when Blanc’s team exited at the same stage on away goals against Chelsea.
PSG again faced the Blues this season and this time triumphed. Whether they could repeat that feat next season and gain revenge over Barcelona remains to be seen.
No doubt the PSG owners will want to see their club and team progress, but it is hard to criticise the team when they come up against such outstanding opposition as Suarez, Neymar and co.
Can PSG ever reach the same level as Barcelona?