PSG got an impressive win over Barcelona to take control of Group F early in the Champions League group stage. Missing their star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic did not slow down the Parisians attack, who were able to outscore the Spaniards 3-2, wiping out goals from Neymar and Messi.
PSG started the first half at a very rapid pace, trying to put Barcelona on the defensive from the get go. Early on, the Spanish outfit made some out of character mistakes and it benefitted the home side. The opening goal came out of one of Barcas mistakes when Dani Alves got called for handball, giving the Parisians a free kick in a very good attacking position. The free kick was taken very well and it found David Luiz in the box, who finished it off superbly, even from the awkward position he was in.
It only took minutes for Barcelona to respond with the equalizer from none other than Lionel Messi. The Argentine played a great one-two pass through Iniesta in the box and finished in the far corner, as Luiz tried to recover, but could not get in front in time. After the equalizer, PSG continued to control the pace of the game, but wasted some good build up in the final third, with Edison Cavani unable to find his touch when he needed it. That was until the 26 minute, when they took the lead through a Marco Veratti header, the Italian released from the defense at the far corner and put it away in style.
Outside of the equalizing goal, Barcelona had very few clear chances on net other than a Messi free kick that missed just over the bar right before half. Neymar and Pedro got very little time on the ball and their offensive flow suffered because of it. They had a hard time controlling the possession and rate of play in this match, which is usually their specialty.
The home side came out firing again in the second half, making Barcelona defend and not letting them get anytime on the ball. Lucas continued to torture Jordi Alba down the right flank and nearly got by his defender on a great run, but could not finish off his run. PSG’s third goal came from a great cross on that right flank, when Gregory Van Der Wiel found Blaise Matuidi with a great cross to go up 3-1.
Again Barcelona was able to answer PSG’s goal with an immediate response from Neymar. In the 56 minute a cross meant for the head of Messi got past the Argentine and the French defenders fell to the Brazilian, who finished superbly in the corner of the net. After the Neymar goal that brought the score to 3-2 Barcelona looked to be in control and began, for the first time in the match, to pass around like they have become so known for.
As Barcelona began to push the pace, it seemed as if it was only a matter of time until they would be able to level the score. Iniesta missed a great chance to equalize late in the game, when a free kick was deflected and fell to him right outside the 18-yard box, but he was unable to finish it off. Impressive youngster Munir’s late introduction almost resulted in a goal when he barely missed off the post in a very well taken long-range effort. PSG got one last chance to put the match away through Cavani when he got free and put a very weak shot on net with his left foot. Even though Barcelona had chances near the end and controlled the ball for the most part in the last half hour, they were not able to breakthrough and the match ended at 3-2.
PSG got a big win in the Champions League group stage over Barcelona by a score of 3-2. The win was even more impressive considering the French side were missing their star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic due to a heel injury. It was the first time early in this season that Barcelona even allowed a goal and their lack of defense led to their first loss.
Commentary by Max Petkevicius