Kylian Mbappe all-but secured Paris Saint Germain’s progression to the quarter-finals of the UEFA Champions League with a brilliant hat-trick at the Camp Nou against Barcelona.
Lionel Messi hit the front from the penalty spot midway through the first-half after Frenkie de Jong was fouled. Mbappe then replied with a stunning strike before then twice getting himself on the scoresheet in the second-half, with Moise Kean also netting, to seal his treble and a memorable victory in Catalonia.
Here are five things we learned from the Camp Nou:
Mbappe sparkles at the Camp Nou
One name will sum up this result at the Nou Camp and that’s Kylian Mbappe. The Frenchman turned in an electric showing in Spain, continually troubling the hosts.
Away from his stunning treble, the 22-year-old got more shots on target in the game than any other player with four, whilst also producing as many dribbles as the entire Barcelona side with nine. It really was a landmark showing from Mbappe, an aspect that has surely put PSG through to the next round of the UEFA Champions League.
The past and the future of world football?
Speaking of Mbappe, supporters will surely believe they’ve seen the past and the future of football. Messi has of course sparkled for the past 15 years, securing a place in the pantheon of the all-time greats.
With his excellent performance, there is no doubt that Mbappe’s trajectory is exactly the same. All three of his finishes were of the upmost quality, but particularly the first. His first touch was brilliant, before then taking the ball around compatriot Clement Lenglet and smashing it into the net. It would certainly be no surprise to see the Frenchman claim numerous Ballons d’Or at some point in the future.
La Remontada pt. II?
It’s going to take another monumental comeback from Barcelona on the scale of La Remontada for them to get back into the tie. Heading to the French capital in just three weeks’ time, the Catalans find themselves three goals behind, that being the fault of a poor defensive showing.
They won’t always be able to rely on humongous comebacks so it seems highly likely that Barca are set to fail in the UEFA Champions League once again. As it stands, Ronald Koeman’s men are at huge odds of 80/1 with William Hill to win the competition come the end of the campaign.
Ter Stegen keeps the scores down
Whilst Barca were underwhelming defensively, one man in the backline kept the scores down and that was Marc-Andre Ter Stegen. The German was one of the only Barca players to come out of the game with credit having produced four stops throughout the 90 minutes.
A couple of his saves were brilliant, first making a great reaction save a shot from Kean that took a wicked deflection, whilst also halting Mbappe from getting a fourth.
After PSG’s fourth, and Mbappe’s third went in, it felt an extremely long time since Messi had opened the scoring. Since then, the hosts really struggled to threaten.
Of the 12 shots that the Spanish giants produced throughout the game, they could only get four on target, with the vast majority of those coming before the half-time break. If Barcelona have any real aspirations of returning to the top of European football, they really need to improve offensively.
FC Barcelona: ter Stegen (7); Alba (6), Lenglet (5), Pique (5) (Trincao (N/A), 78′), Dest (5) (Mingueza (5), 71′); De Jong (6), Busquets (6) (Puij (N/A), 78′), Pedri (6) (Pjanic (N/A), 78′); Messi (7), Dembele (6), Griezmann (6) (Braithwaite (N/A), 85′).
Paris Saint Germain: Navas (7); Kurzawa (7), Marquinhos (7), Kimpembe (7), Florenzi (7) (Kehrer (N/A), 89′); Paredes (7), Verratti (7) (Draxler (6), 73′), Gueye (6) (Herrera (6), 46′); Mbappe (9), Kean (7) (Danilo (N/A), 85′), Icardi (7).
Goals: Messi (28′ PEN), Mbappe (32′, 65′, 82′ HAT), Kean (70′)
Referee: Bjorn Kuipers
Yellow Cards: Gueye (20′)
Red Cards: N/A
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