FC Barcelona 1-4 Paris Saint-Germain: Heartbreaking exit

FC Barcelona 1-4 Paris Saint-Germain: Heartbreaking exit

Flying start thwarted by Araujo red card as the French side make the extra man count and bring an end to this season's Champions League campaign

FC Barcelona’s Champions League campaign has fizzled out to a thoroughly frustrating end. Already a goal up from the first leg and quickly two-up after Raphinha’s early goal, what had looked like a confident march into the semi-finals has ended up being a night of most bitter disappointment.

Barça can only dwell on what could have been, and particularly had Ronald Araujo not been red-carded on the half hour, the moment that changed the entire course of this encounter.

We always knew PSG are a strong side, and with an extra man they are stronger still. Suddenly Barça were faced by a mammoth task, and as the visiting side’s goals went in, so did the dream start fading away...

A night that had promised to be beautiful ended up being a heart-breaking nightmare, and all Barça can do now is pick up the pieces and focus their full attention on La Liga, and El Clásico this coming Sunday.

Promising start

Just like in the first leg, PSG dominated the early minutes without making anything of consequence out of it. And just like the first leg, with one of their first encroachments into French territory, Raphinha ended up putting Barça ahead.

The Brazilian had never scored in a Champions League fixture before these games with PSG, but he’s certainly picked up the trick now. His third goal in the overall tie was also special for being the 600th that the team has scored since the UCL adopted its new format, with Lamine Yamal very much the man to thank for his work in the build-up.

So far so good. But from there, everything was a downhill slump.

Araujo sees red

Yamal himself would not be on the pitch much longer following the game-changing situation just before the half hour.

Araujo was adjudged to have brought down Bradley Barcola on the edge of the area, and as it was a last-man offence, that was a red card. Xavi needed to send on a new defender, and Yamal was the forced sacrifice.

Infuriating moments for the Estadi Olimpic faithful, made all the more painful when former blaugrana Ousamane Dembélé slammed PSG right back into contention.

PSG capitalise

A very, very nervy second half would follow, in which ten-man Barça faced the monumental test of keeping an insistent PSG at bay.

The Parisians were threatening to score at any moment and on 54 minutes they did. The last thing Barça could afford was to lose concentration in defence… But they did and Vitinha punished them for it.

The game went into overdrive, and in the midst of it, Xavi was red-carded out of the technical area for protesting.

And there would be further blaugrana fury when João Cancelo clipped Dembélé in the box, the referee had seen enough to give a penalty and Kylian Mbappé converted.

In 21 minutes of playing time, Barça had gone from leading 4-2 on aggregate to trailing 5-4.


PSG had the game under their control and spent the remainder of game trying to take as much kick out of it as they could. But they were still only clinging onto a one-goal lead and Barça came frustratingly close to beating Gianluigi Donnarumma almost every time they found a way forward.

Hearts were pounding throughout the Barça universe and nowhere more so than in the Estadi Olimpic… The stadium believed…

Chance after chance went begging, then PSG broke. Two stunning saves from Ter Stegen, but three were too much to ask. Mbappé made it 4-1

There were still seven minutes of injury time to get through, but the belief was gone now. For Barça, the Champions League story of 2023/24 has ended.

Força Barça
Força Barça

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