PSG pound Barça, Liverpool beat Leipzig in Champions League

Sports Desk, Feb 16 (efe-epa).- Kylian Mbappe had a hat trick Tuesday to Paris Saint-Germain to their first-ever victory at Camp Nou, a 1-4 thrashing of Barcelona in the first leg of a Champions League round of 16 tie, while Liverpool topped RB Leipzig 0-2.

The triumph for last season’s runners-up was even more impressive given that the Parisians were without injured superstar Neymar.

Neither team showed much ambition in the early going and the first goal came only in the 27th minute, when Lionel Messi converted a penalty after Layvin Kurzawa fouled Frenkie de Jong in the box.

All three of the Barcelona captain’s previous goals in the current Champions League campaign also came from the spot.

It would have been 2-0 seconds later if Ousmane Dembele hadn’t shot straight at PSG goalkeeper Keylor Navas on a brilliant chance created by Messi.

Barcelona’s lead lasted only until the 32nd minute, when Mbappe equalized with an assist from Marco Verratti.

Antoine Griezmann sent his shot just wide on an opportunity to reclaim the edge for the hosts before a narrow miss by PSG’s Mauro Icardi and the first half ended 1-1.

Moise Kean forced a save from Barça keeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen early in the second half as the PSG onslaught continued.

The match entered the final 30 minutes with the sides still level, but PSG scored twice in five minutes – courtesy of Mbappe and Kean – to take firm control of the contest.

Mbappe completed his triple in the 85th minute, giving PSG a fourth away goal and what looks to be an insurmountable advantage heading into the March 10 second leg at Parc des Princes.

RB Leipzig were ostensibly the home side in Tuesday’s first leg against Liverpool, but the contest was played in Budapest due to Covid-19 restrictions in Germany.

The Red Bulls, who stopped Manchester United from getting out of the group stage, might have hoped to take advantage of Liverpool’s recent run of poor results, but the Reds played more like the squad that won the Premier League last year and the Champions League in 2019.

Leipzig endured the pressure until the 53rd minute, when Marcel Sabitzer’s giveaway led to a goal for Mohammed Salah. Five minutes later, it was the turn of Nordi Mukiele to be victimized by Sadio Mane and Liverpool led 0-2. EFE


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