BARCELONA (Jordi Blanco, correspondent) – Barcelona suddenly discovered that Europe is something else, that PSG is a very fierce lion and that winning a place in the quarterfinals of the Champions League will be nothing short of a miracle. Defeated by 1-4, collapsed in his morale and in his pride, he found that, as most feared, aspiring to something in the continental tournament was a utopian illusion. Headless in the first minute and delivered from Mbappé’s second goal, he never had control of a match always controlled comfortably by an opponent who played as he wanted.
The “we are not to win many things” that Ronald Koeman ventured a few weeks ago became a dramatic reality. Impossible to stand up, he fell to his knees to the worst defeat in the Camp Nou since he crushed Dynamo Kiev 0-4 in 1997. Without further ado. Impossible to discuss.
Pochettino’s men had the best chances and Barça held out until Ter Stegen kept him standing. At which the French crack scored the 1-2, everything fell like a house of cards and the difference between the two teams was clear. Fast, supersonic, Mbappé already warned, forcing a desperate exit from the local goal in the first minute as he ventured a dramatic night.
The pressure of the French team broke the center of the Barça field, and without the ball it was almost a toy, appearing only on impulse, pushed by the desire of Pedri or the speed of Dembélé to maintain the tone, but globally the difference between them was could see very early.
It seemed that the 1-0, transformed a penalty from Messi committed by Kurzawa to De Jong, could give Barça air and change the script to PSG, but none of this happened. The French team kept up the rhythm and did not take long to equalize, in a superb pass from Verratti sentenced by Mbappé, prodigious in cutting Lenglet and a mathematician in the shot at point blank range.
Barça was still lucky to go to rest with the draw, saved by Ter Stegen … But making it clear that the night was going to be even more tragic.
A saving hand from the German goal just starting the second half was the warning that Barça was coming. Uncontrolled anywhere on the pitch, the defense turned, one more night, into a nightmare and invisible in midfield, PSG played more and more comfortably, more advanced, fiercer and more daring …
Until the two coups de grace fell almost continuously. A Florenzi center from the band that Piqué could not reject well so that Mbappé clinched at pleasure at 65 minutes and an imperial header from Kean at 70, free of mark to the center of Paredes, with the defense looking, placed the 1- 3 impossible.
Koeman’s worst night still saved another blow from Mbappé in the final stretch to turn the defeat into a nightmare, in a win that no one wanted to imagine but that the French team turned into reality.
Neither Messi nor anyone else, Barcelona was a sad picture, overwhelmed by a PSG who did what he wanted, from beginning to end, and began to dismiss him, in a bad way, from Europe.