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Barça unleashed all their class in the French capital on Tuesday evening to inflict a more than convincing 3-1 defeat on Paris Saint-Germain. In a wonderful performance all round for Luis Enrique’s team it was hard for any single player to stand out, but with two brilliant solo goals, Luis Suárez managed to do just that.
Neymar opens the account
Both sides went straight at each other from the outset, but there were no real chances until the 14th minute, when Messi sent a Suárez assist onto the PSG post. That close shave rattled the home side and just four minutes later they carelessly gave the ball away in midfield. Busquets threaded it on to Messi, who in turn picked out Neymar racing in from the left. The Brazilian deftly tucked the ball in the back of the net and with just over a quarter of an hour gone, Barça already had an invaluable away goal to their name.
The problems for PSG got worse. Thiago Silva was forced off through injury and replaced in the centre of defence by his compatriot David Luiz, despite uncertainties about the latter’s fitness. But the French champions showed plenty of resilience as they fought to get back into the game. After 28 minutes, Cavani was denied the chance to get them back on level terms by an outstanding last-ditch tackle by Mascherano. And the same PSG player had another fine chance moments later, but turned Matuidi’s cross straight into the hands of Ter Stegen.
However, with 64% of the possession and five goals attempts to PSG’s two, Barça were more than worthy of their 1-0 lead when the whistle blew for half-time.
Suárez stuns Paris…
The Parisians came out strong after the break and Ter Stegen was immediately called into action to deny Pastore and Rabiot. But of even greater concern to Barça was Andrés Iniesta being stretchered off after getting kneed in the back. He was replaced in midfield by Xavi. The visitors weathered the early pressure to regain control of the game and following a series of half-chances, some Uruguayan magic extended their lead. Luis Suárez collected the ball on the right and powered his way through three defenders. Goalkeeper Sirigu could only get his fingers to the shot and the Parc des Princes was silenced as Barça went 2-0 up after 67 minutes.
…and then stuns Paris again
PSG sought an immediate reaction when Cavani struck a thunderous shot that brought out an outstanding save from Ter Stegen, but they were up against a Barça side that was playing football of a simply different class. And of the many moments of brilliance, Suárez’s second goal of the evening was the most memorable of all. His 79th minute run from midfield, in which he nutmegged David Luiz for the second time of the night, ended with a finish into the top right hand corner of Sirigu’s goal that was nothing short of majestic. 3-0 to Barça and the semi-finals were already beckoning.
Just when Barça were flying, PSG pulled things back to 3-1 when Van del Wiel had a pop from long range and Jeremy Mathieu’s attempted clearance ended up in the back of his own net. The Frenchman made up for the error in the dying minutes of the game by throwing himself in the way of a great chance for Cavani, thus ensuring that Barça will start next week’s second leg at the Camp Nou with a two-goal head start. Things could not be better for a side that will have set legs trembling all around Europe after tonight’s exquisite display n Paris.
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