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Twitter erupts as electrifying Kylian Mbappe destroys Lionel Messi's Barcelona at Nou Camp

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Sai Teja
ANALYST
Modified 17 Feb 2021
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It was a stunning UEFA Champions League night at the Nou Camp as Paris Saint-Germain came from behind to smash Lionel Messi's Barcelona on their own turf. Mauricio Pochettino's side, inspired by an in-form Kylian Mbappe, won 4-1 on the night to give them a massive advantage in terms of having four precious away goals heading into the reverse fixture in Paris.

Mbappe completed a magnificent hat-trick to give PSG the equaliser and the go-ahead goal, after which his third and Moise Kean's header added further gloss to the scoreline.

Both the hosts and the visitors faced crises ahead of the game in different areas of the pitch. Barcelona were forced to draft in Gerard Pique, a man who has not played a single game since November due to injury, into the heart of their defence after Ronald Araujo was ruled out of the game.

Meanwhile, PSG were without the likes of Angel Di Maria and former Blaugrana superstar Neymar, who missed his potential homecoming in Catalunya due to a thigh injury. Another ex-Barcelona player, Mauro Icardi, was at the tip of the PSG attack and spurned a glorious opportunity early in the first half to give the visitors a lead. However, that was of little consequence as the game went on.


Kylian Mbappe too hot to handle for Lionel Messi and Barcelona

FC Barcelona v Paris Saint-Germain - UEFA Champions League Round Of 16 Leg One
FC Barcelona v Paris Saint-Germain - UEFA Champions League Round Of 16 Leg One

After a few warning signs for both sides in the 15-20 minutes, it was Barcelona who drew first blood in the 27th minute under rather strange circumstances. Frenkie de Jong darted into the PSG box to get on the end of a measured lofted ball from Messi, but was tripped by the slightest of touches from Layvin Kurzawa.

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Dutch referee Bjorn Kuipers' initial penalty decision survived the VAR check, and it was Lionel Messi who smashed the ball past an outstretched Keylor Navas to give Barcelona the lead. It was his fourth goal of the UCL campaign so far, albeit all four of them have come from the spot.

Mauricio Pochettino's side didn't need too long to retaliate as they did so in stunning fashion just five minutes later. Kylian Mbappe, who was a menace down Barcelona's right side throughout the night, found himself inside the box on the end of a lovely flick from Marco Verratti.

The Frenchman then quickly shifted the ball to his left and took both Pique and Clement Lenglet out of the equation before dispatching the ball into the roof of Marc-Andre ter Stegen's net. The game moved up a few gears after the equaliser as the likes of Icardi and Antoine Griezmann came close to doubling their respective sides' leads, but the scoreline remained at 1-1 until the half-time whistle.

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PSG arguably had the better chances in the first half and that trend, particularly since Mbappe's strike, carried on into the second half. Despite Barcelona's attempts to pin PSG into their own box, Pochettino's men hurt the Blaugrana on the counter time and again, particularly from wide areas.

Koeman's side found themselves in further trouble in the 65th minute as Alessandro Florenzi's superb run down PSG's right caught Barcelona off-guard and set up Mbappe for his second of the night, giving the French champions a priceless lead.

This goal was not without its share of controversy either as although it appeared that Florenzi was off-side, Sergino Dest — who had a night to forget at the Nou Camp — played him on. Mbappe came close to scoring another just minutes after his second goal but was denied by Ter Stegen from close range.

However, their respite didn't last too long as just five minutes after Mbappe's strike into an empty net, Kean all but sealed Barcelona's fate. The on-loan Everton striker headed the ball into the top-right corner after an excellent free-kick delivery into the box from Leandro Paredes.

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Just when it appeared as though PSG would see the game out with just over 20 minutes left, Mbappe added further insult to injury with an absolutely stunning finish to cap off a counter-attack led by Julian Draxler.

Mbappe's first-time finish past Ter Stegen helped him compete an unbelievable hat-trick to seal Barcelona's fate in the first leg, and encapsulated one of the most electrifying UCL displays in recent memory.

The well-documented Real Madrid target was the star of the show and became the first player in UCL history to score a hat-trick past Barcelona in the tournament's knockout stages.

Messi's men, on the other hand, have been left in tatters after another damaging result. They've already seen their LaLiga Santander campaign slip away with Atletico Madrid holding an eight-point lead over them and are now facing a potential exit from the UCL at the hands of a Neymar-less PSG.

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Here are some of the best tweets from the game!


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Published 17 Feb 2021, 03:38 IST
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