Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Barcelona 1-4 PSG (PSG win 6-4 agg): What Were The Key Talking Points As The French Giants Mount A Stunning Champions League Comeback In Catalonia?

Tom Dunstan in Editorial, UEFA Champions League 17 Apr 2024

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Mounting what was a famous comeback away in Catalonia on Tuesday night, PSG booked their Champions League semi-final ticket as they secured a 4-1 romp against Barcelona.

With Barca making a heavyweight first-leg statement in Paris last week as they secured a 3-2 victory, Xavi’s men got off to a dream start as the red-hot Raphinha opened the scoring in the first 12 minutes.

However, while Tuesday’s hosts might have been sat firmly in the driving seat, the reigning Spanish champions came crashing back down to earth in an infamous fashion.

With Ronald Araujo shown a straight red card just before the half-hour mark, the floodgates quickly opened at the Olympic Stadium.

Watching former Barca star Ousmane Dembele drag a goal back five minuets before the interval, PSG came flying out of the traps when returning from the half-time break.

With Portuguese midfielder Vitinha producing a thunderous effort nine minuets after the interval, it was the Kylian Mbappe who stole centre stage as the French superstar bagged a classy European brace.

Picking up a major Champions League scalp and producing a famous comeback in Catalonia, PSG now have their sights firmly set on a semi-final showdown against German outfit Borussia Dortmund.

In what was another action-packed Champions League affair on Tuesday night, we have taken a look at the main talking points.

Enrique gets his dream return to Catalonia

While PSG might be cruising their way to another domestic crown this season and hardly having to get out of third gear, there has been continued speculation over Luis Enrique’s long-term future in Paris.

However, although the French heavyweights might have come under a huge amount of scrutiny last week as they eventually fell to that first-leg 3-2 defeat on home soil, Enrique certainly got his dream return to Catalonia here.

With it no secret that PSG have a maiden Champions League crown at the top of their agenda, the former Barcelona boss was clearly thrilled with what could prove to be a season-defining victory on foreign soil.

Still looking to secure what would be an historic double-winning campaign this season, Tuesday’s guests will be relishing a blockbuster semi-final showdown against Borussia Dortmund on April 30th.

Now winning all of their previous four appearances away from the French capital by an aggregate score of 14-4, PSG have also not suffered a single defeat on their travels since returning from November’s international break.

Barca suffer an infamous collapse

Springing a famous Champions League upset in Paris last week as they left the French capital with that 3-2 victory, Barcelona were certainly sitting in the driving seat to punch a first semi-final spot since 2019.

However, while Raphinha’s early strike might have handed Xavi’s side a commanding two-goal lead, Tuesday’s hosts will be hugely concerned by a nightmare collapse in Catalonia.

Long since accepting that they will be relinquishing their La Liga crown to bitter rivals and fellow quarter-finalists Real Madrid, Xavi was desperate to end his stint in the dugout with a piece of silverware this season.

With all of Barca’s issues steaming back to Araujo’s moment of madness in the first-half, there is no doubt that the Spanish giants missed out on a real golden opportunity here.

Although many of Barca’s young academy graduates might have continued to shine on the European stage this season, they will take some time to recover from what was a public collapse in front of their own supporters.

King Kylian steals centre stage

Not producing a single shot on target in Paris last week and often cutting a frustrated figure, Enrique had made it clear that PSG needed their attacking icon back to his tantalising best and firing on all cylinders.

While all signs might be pointing to Mbappe leaving the French giants this summer, it is no secret that the 25-year-old is desperate to sign off his tenure with a maiden Champions League crown.

With it looking like the future Ballon d’Or winner is set for a history-making move to Real Madrid on a free transfer this summer, Mbappe has continued on another remarkable flurry this season.

Bagging a second-leg brace here and only continuing to cement his spot as world football’s hottest commodity, the French skipper has recorded 41 goals in his 42 appearances across all competitions this season.

Causing Barcelona a string of issues here and silencing the home support after returning from the interval, Mbappe will also certainly play a leading role for Les Bleus at this summer’s European Championships in Germany.

Match Report

Barcelona: ter Stegen, Kounde, Araujo, Cubarsi, Cancelo, de Jong, Gundogan, Pedro, Gamal, Leandowski, Raphinha

Subs: Martinez, Torres, Felix, Lopez

PSG: Donnarumma, Hakimi, Marquinhos, Hernandez, Mendes, Ruiz, Vitinha, Zaire-Emery, Dembele, Mappen, Barcola

Subs: Ugarte, Asensio, Muani, Kang-in

Goals: Barcelona: Raphinha (12’) – PSG: Dembele (40’), Vitinha (54’), Mbappe (61’ P, 89’)

Yellow Cards: Barcelona: Gundogan, Lewandowski, Raphinha, Lopez, Martinez – PSG: Mbappe, Ruiz, Marquinhos

Red Cards: Araujo (29’)

Referee: Istvan Kovacs

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom Dunstan


Formerly of The Independent, Tom has spent the past six years as one of our senior writers and betting experts. Alongside working with numerous publications from across the globe, Tom also graduated from the University of Falmouth in 2014 with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Digital Media.
Spending almost the past decade working in countries such as Australia, New Zealand and Canada, he has also spent time featuring in sports radio. Tom can be followed on Instagram - @iamtomdunstan

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