Last 16 1st leg
FC Barcelona 1-4 Paris Saint Germain
Kylian Mbappe’s hat-trick inspired Paris Saint-Germain to an emphatic 4-1 victory at Barcelona in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie.
In what was an open first half at the Nou Camp, Lionel Messi (27) gave Barca the lead from the penalty spot after Frenkie de Jong had his heels clipped by Layvin Kurzawa before Mbappe responded five minutes later for the visitors, who were without Neymar and Angel Di Maria.
After the break, PSG took over and Mbappe (65) added his second of the night before Moise Kean, who is on loan from Everton, stretched the French side’s advantage.
Mbappe (85) then produced a brilliant curled finish to leave Barcelona stunned, rounding off a stunning evening for Mauricio Pochettino’s side, who take a three-goal advantage and four away goals back to the Parc des Princes for the second leg on March 10.
PSG started brightly, with Mbappe’s pace causing the Barcelona defence problems straight away. The French forward tried to latch onto Marco Verratti’s pass over the top but Marc-André ter Stegen was quickly off his line to clear for the hosts.
Despite a confident start from the visitors, it was Barca who created the first clear opening. Messi dropped deep to start the move, playing the ball into Pedri, who then slid in Antoine Griezmann. However, the Frenchman scuffed his shot, allowing Keylor Navas to make a simple block at his near post.
The deadlock was eventually broken in the 27th minute and Messi was at the heart of it for the hosts. His direct pass looked to release De Jong into the penalty area and the midfielder had his heels clipped by Kurzawa as the defender tried to track the run, and referee Bjorn Kuipers correctly pointed to the spot.
It was over to Messi, who emphatically picked out the top corner with his penalty for his 20th goal of the season in all competitions.
Ousmane Dembele had a brilliant chance to make it two moments later, but his scuffed shot was straight at Navas, and it proved to be costly as Mbappe struck the equaliser.
Verratti’s flick picked out the striker in the penalty area and he showed quick feet to shift the ball past Clement Lenglet before powering the ball into the roof of the net for a crucial away goal.
The game was now end-to-end as Ter Stegen denied Kurzawa, while Griezmann shot wide after a swift Barca counter-attack. Ter Stegen also had to be alert to keep out Kean’s powerful strike before Mauro Icardi powered a header wide in the closing stages of a brilliant first half.
Barcelona needed Ter Stegen to keep them in the game after the break too as the goalkeeper produced a smart save to keep out Kean’s deflected effort.
However, he could do nothing about Mbappe’s second of the evening. Leandro Paredes’ pass released Alessandro Florenzi and his cut-back was deflected into the path of Mbappe, who guided the ball into the back of the net.
Mbappe was then denied a third by a smart block from Ter Stegen but again, he was powerless to prevent PSG’s third as Kean ran through unmarked to head home Paredes’ free-kick.
Barca had absolutely no answer to PSG’s dominance and Mbappe rounded off a perfect night for Pochettino’s men with a curled finish after a swift counter-attack from the visitors.
Barcelona host Cadiz in La Liga on Sunday; kick-off 1pm. Meanwhile, PSG host Monaco in Ligue 1, also on Sunday; kick-off 8pm.
The second leg of this Champions League last-16 tie takes place on March 10 at the Parc des Princes; kick-off 8pm.