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Five reasons why Barcelona v PSG is a huge match

FC Barcelona v Paris Saint-Germain - UEFA Champions League Round of 16: Second Leg
FC Barcelona v Paris Saint-Germain - UEFA Champions League Round of 16: Second Leg
Robin Bairner
EXPERT COLUMNIST
Modified 16 Feb 2021
Top 5 / Top 10
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The pick of the Champions League last 16 draw is five-time champions European champions Barcelona’s clash against Paris Saint-Germain, the side that reached the final last season only to fall to Bayern Munich.

The pair have grown to be familiar rivals on the European scene over the course of the last 10 years, with eight matches played between the clubs since 2013, and the Calatans leading the head-to-head 4-2.

Arguably, though, this tie could be the most pivotal of all their previous encounters, with an immense amount riding on it for both Barcelona and PSG. Here are five reasons why this is a critical tie for both teams.

Barcelona's Remontada

The previous meeting between these sides came in 2017, when Barcelona were considered a fading force on the European scene but still bristled with the offensive talent of Neymar, Luis Suarez and, of course, Lionel Messi.

Those forecasting doom for the Camp Nou outfit seemed justified in their predictions as the first leg was dominated by PSG, who romped to a 4-0 win over their Catalan opponents.

No team had ever come back from such a deficit in the second leg of a Champions League match in the modern era, and even for this Barcelona side, it was considered to be far too great a task.

Neymar, though, had other ideas. The Brazilian, who moved to PSG for a world record €222 million a matter of months later, turned in one of the most inspired performances of his brilliant career to drag Barcelona to an incredible 6-1 win, which included three goals that arrived in the 88th minute or later.

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While teams have subsequently recovered from such incredible deficits, this was the first time it had been achieved and was done in such a dramatic manner that it is destined to be an iconic game in the history of the club and the Champions League forever.

Defeat left an indelible scar on the psyche of PSG as a club, and the doubts that have sprung from conceding such a commanding position have plagued them in top European matches since. It was a wound only deepened by their elimination by Manchester United two years later.

Now, PSG have the opportunity to put those bad memories firmly to bed, which would allow them to move on as a club.

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Published 16 Feb 2021, 05:25 IST
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