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In the pouring Paris rain Barça took the initiative from the kick-off, staying wary of the threat from a counterattack from the hosts. Both sides wanted to get on the front foot as often as possible with the closest either came early on being when Lionel Messi’s eighth-minute free-kick fizzed just over.
Ousmane Dembélé wasn’t able to get enough power behind a shot shortly afterwards, and had a great opportunity at the end of a superb break on 12 minutes, as Barça continued to pin PSG bay as often as possible.
Keylor Navas had to be at full stretch on 18 as Dembélé got away a fierce shot on target, and PSG were again indebted to their custodian after he parried Sergiño Dest’s drive against the woodwork. Messi was inches away in the very next attack, but a VAR assisted penalty decision handed the advantage to PSG, Mbappe making no mistake from the spot.
Dembélé again went close before a thunderbolt from Messi brought the scores level on the night. Sergio Busquets forced a stop from Navas as a ferocious work ethic from Barça saw them trying to create a second before the break. A penalty to Barça in first-half injury-time would’ve seen them ahead on the night, but Navas saved it with his legs. Incredibly, it was the Catalans ninth shot on target in an absorbing opening 45.
The opening 10 minutes of the second period took on exactly the same pattern of the first, PSG having to be content with the odd break now and again as Barça completely dictated the pace and rhythm of the tie.
On the hour a goalmouth scramble fell the way of PSG, some delightful footwork from Pedri almost helped carve out yet another chance, whilst Navas was called into action again as Busquets got a header on target from a corner. Each time PSG attempted to press, Barça pushed them back.
A triple substitution from Ronald Koeman with just over 10 to go looked to inject some freshness into Barça’s play, and still the visitors forced the issue. Despite no more goals, the coach can be rightly proud of the effort shown by his players.