Messi stymied as PSG bounce Barça out of Champions League

Sports Desk, Mar 10 (efe-epa).- The memory of Barcelona’s miraculous 2017 comeback against Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League knockout stage hovered over the Parc des Princes on Wednesday as the French side hosted the Blaugrana for the second leg of their round of 16 tie, but the PSG goalkeeper snuffed out hopes for a repeat.

Costa Rican international Keylor Navas, who got to know Barça very well during his time with Real Madrid, stopped 10 shots, including a Lionel Messi penalty, to help PSG secure a 1-1 result on the night for a 5-2 aggregate win.

The Parisians, who lost the 2019-2020 final to Bayern Munich, ended Barcelona’s record-setting run of consecutive Champions League quarterfinal appearances at 13.

After the experience of four years ago, when they took a 4-0 advantage from the first leg into Camp Nou only to be thrashed 6-1, PSG were well aware of the threat.

Barça ended Wednesday’s game with 73 percent possession and outshot the hosts 21-7. PSG had signaled beforehand that they would be going for victory, but the Blaugrana onslaught forced them to trim their sails.

The visitors created five chances in the first 25 minutes, as both Ousmane Dembele and Sergiño Dest forced impressive saves from Navas.

But while Clement Lenglet’s ill-advised contact with Mauro Icardi in the 30th minute eluded the referee, it did draw the attention of VAR, which concluded that a penalty was in order.

Kylian Mbappe converted to make it 5-0 on aggregate.

Dembele squandered an opportunity in the 35th, yet Messi produced a brilliant goal two minutes later.

The Argentine was poised to narrow the gap still more when Barça won a penalty in first-half stoppage time for a Layvin Kurzawa foul on Griezmann, but Navas managed to divert Messi’s strike and it bounced off the cross-bar.

Barcelona would go on to generate more chances in the second half, but the missed penalty appeared to deflate them and PSG saw out the tie. EFE


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