A lot can change in three weeks, from “Massacre in Paris” to “Remontada at the Camp Nou”, history was created last night and we can’t stop thinking about it.
Valentine’s night, PSG hammered Barcelona 4 goals to nil. They played their best game & were the clear winners on every front. You don’t see a team of Barcelona’s stature crumble the way they did in Paris. PSG felt powerful, invincible even, after all, they had just humiliated one of the greatest teams in modern history. Angel Di Maria felt the tie was done & dusted, he even went on record to say that. But when you are playing Barcelona in 3 weeks time at their own den, it’s better to hold your horses. Unai Emery “knew” overcoming Barcelona won’t be an easy task and he “prepared” for it. Barca on the other hand, knew they had a mountain to climb & brought their A-game.
An electric atmosphere at the Camp Nou. Every fan inside the stadium believed it could actually happen. No team in the Champions League history has overcome a 4 goal deficit before. But on 8th March 2017 that record changed, thanks to a passion-charged Barcelona. The Catalans were on the front foot from the first minute & PSG made the biggest mistake they could’ve, they let Barca play their natural game. 3-3-4 was the formation for Barcelona from the start, with Rafinha aiding the majestic MSN. 3 minutes in, a cross from the right-hand side gave all kinds of trouble to the Parisian backline and ended up at the back of the net as the diminutive Uruguayan made no mistake nodding the ball from close range. A dream start for Barcelona erupted the whole stadium. The first goal rattled PSG badly and they were struggling to string a couple of passes together. Every player who looked godly 3 weeks earlier, looked rather pale under the floodlights at the Camp Nou. Barca pressed higher up the pitch, suffocating their opponents. PSG, although, threatened on the break a couple of times but that was their highlight in the first half. 5 minutes before halftime, the hosts broke down the left, with PSG struggling to get anything on the ball, Iniesta skipped passed Marquinhos to flick the ball in front of goal which eventually ended up at the back of the net thanks to Kurzawa’s abysmal clearance. The mountain cut in half! The second half started brightly for PSG as if they finally wanted to play. The front 3 combined well to carve out a decent chance for once. But it was Barcelona who struck next from the spot after Neymar was brought down rather unfortunately by Meunier. Leo Messi’s thunderous shot gave Trapp no chance whatsoever.
Di Maria was brought in for Lucas & PSG suddenly looked a little sharper up-top. 7 minutes later, the away fans let out a sigh of relief as their talismanic forward, Cavani, got the crucial away goal. Kurzawa atoned for his own goal by unselfishly heading the ball into the path of his teammate who lashed home. 3-1 the score. The stadium lost its electricity suddenly. 28 minutes & 3 goals were a tough task, even for Barca. PSG were finding more space, and Cavani could’ve easily got his second but Ter Stegen refused to be beaten twice in two minutes. Even Di Maria got through on goal but fired it wide & was shamelessly claiming for a penalty. 2 minutes of regular time left & Busquets won a free kick 20 yards out. Neymar curled it home & Trapp didn’t even move. It was a sensational strike but you expect better from your keeper. Neymar doubled his tally from the spot, 2 minutes later after Suarez won a penalty. Slightest of contacts but a penalty nonetheless. 5-5! And from then on everyone knew what was gonna happen. 5 minutes added and at the last minute, Neymar lifted a brilliant ball into the box which Sergio Roberto met to beat Trapp. REMONTADA complete!
Undoubtedly the player of the tie. He was the only bright spot in Paris & last night he was the one who pulled all the right strings. Always a threat on the right, his versatility makes him one of the biggest threats on the pitch. In a team which has Lionel Messi, finding your own feet could be rather challenging but this boy has done it. Keeping all the stats aside, Neymar has been Barcelona’s best player this year and last night he showed why he is rated so highly. Keep dazzling us, Neymar.
Barcelona 6 – 1 PSG
(Suarez, Kurzawa(OG), Messi, Neymar x2, Roberto) (Cavani)
Dortmund also overcame their 1-0 deficit from the first leg to book their spot into the quarters. 4-0 the match ended.