PSG thrash sorry Barcelona

The Champions League came back with a bang last night, as PSG showed no love towards a sorry Barcelona side on Valentines Day. From the very first minute there was only one team that looked like winning the contest. PSG continued their impressive Champions League home record – now unbeaten in 42 games at Parc Des Princes.

The Parisians looked the real deal last night as they completely dominated Barcelona in all areas of the pitch. It is very rare that you see a Barcelona side so off the pace in a game, that was the case last night. The famous front three of Messi, Suarez and Neymar really struggled to have any effect on the game. While Angel Di Maria will grab all the headlines today following his two goals, Marco Verratti was in inspired form last night. It was a shame to see the Italian pick up an injury that forced him off in the second half, he was was truly outstanding against Barcelona. Verratti, especially in the first half was orchestrating the majority of PSG’s attacks, hardly misplacing a pass and breaking up the rare threat that Barcelona possessed.

Barcelona are used to handing out football lessons, thrashing PSG 5-1 on aggregate when they met in the quarterfinals two years ago, but this was a PSG masterclass. Barcelona’s dreams of a sixth European crown will now be on hold, Barcelona must now make history if the are to progress when the two sides meet again in the second leg on March 8.

In Tuesday’s other match, German side Borussia Dortmund missed several chances and a second-half penalty in a 1-0 defeat to Benfica. That result won’t grab the headlines like this emphatic result — one that sends a clear message that PSG are serious contenders this year.

Di Maria, out of form for much of the season, celebrated his 29th birthday in style. Firing in an 18th-minute free kick to put the hosts 1-0 up, continuing his fine form since joining from Wolfsburg last month, Draxler smacked in the second goal late in the first half. Di Maria lit up the stadium once more as he skipped past two weak challenges before curling in a superb effort from 25 yards out, 10 minutes after the break. Cavani, celebrating his 30th birthday, drilled home the fourth in the 72nd minute.

PSG will not fear anyone in this competition, they have the players at their disposal to be crowed Champions League winners. If they continue to play the way they did last night, surely they will be the favourites for the competition this year. The way Barcelona lost their shape and composure was completely unbecoming of such a proud club. Luis Enrique’s side were destroyed by a PSG side playing with feverish determination, desperate to prove they belong amongst Europe’s elite after falling at the quarterfinals in the last four seasons.

Providing they do not make history, Barcelona look set to miss out on a place in the last eight, after equalling their worst ever Champions League defeat. Though Barcelona will be at home in the second leg, it will take a miracle for the side to eliminate PSG from this position. The second leg will be an interesting encounter, Barcelona will really have to go for it from the first whistle. You would fancy PSG to score at least once in the second leg with the threat they have up front.

Whatever the outcome on March 8, it is a game the footballing world will be looking forward to witnessing once more.