What the UCL?!: Kylian me softly for PSG as Barca’s teen titans upset superstar in Champions League boilover


Paris Saint Germain shiver at the very word ‘remontada’, but that is exactly what they will need after being stunned 3-2 by FC Barcelona on their own patch in the opening leg of their UEFA Champions League quarter final.

PSG will at least be spared a return to the scene of their most humiliating European performance – Barca currently occupy the Olympic Stadium in Montjuic with the Camp Nou under renovation – but must hope for a similar comeback to that which introduced ‘remontada’ into the footballing lexicon.

Back in 2017, the French giant took a 4-0 lead to Catalonia from the first leg of a Round of 16 game, only to lose 6-1, with three goals after the 88th minute.

They don’t need as dramatic a turnaround as that in terms of goals, but they’ll need a performance of similar resilience after being shocked early, then pegged back, then led by a Barca team that is way below the levels of a 2017 outfit with Lionel Messi and Neymar.

This edition of Barcelona featured a 16-year-old, Lamine Yamal, who set up their opener, and a 17-year-old, Pau Cubarsi, who played 90 minutes at centre back as part of a defence tasked with keeping Kylian Mbappe quiet.

Both were the youngest two players ever to feature this deep into a Champions League tournament, with Yamal taking over from Warren Zaire-Emery, who came off the bench for PSG, but was 16 when he started in last year’s knockout stages.

“Big win, playing away in the Champions League,” said Barcelona manager Xavi.

“One game in Barca to go. We played well, we defended well and attacked. Tactically we did really well. They changed a lot of players, we defended Mbappe really well.

“We create many chances, Raphinha and Robert [Lewandowski] made the difference, Pedri helped us a lot. Very happy and very proud of the team.”

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The blaugrana took the lead in the first half through Raphinha and were decent value for it at halftime as PSG failed to generate any significant attacking threat.

Kylian Mbappe was quiet enough, but played a vital part in a stunning goal for Ousmane Dembele shortly after the resumption of play, before Vitinha fired the French champions in front quickly afterwards.

“Another underwhelming performance from Kylian Mbappé – and in PSG’s biggest game of the season so far,” wrote veteran French football sage Philippe Auclair.

“His standing two yards offside on Dembele’s cross/shot towards the end of the game, half-throwing himself forward for a ball he knew he couldn’t reach, summed up his evening.”

What a finish ???? Barcelona respond back to PSG!

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Barca briefly tottered, but responded again through Raphinha, then went in front late on thanks to centre back Andreas Christiansen.

The equaliser was an excellent goal, crafted by substitute Pedri, but the go-ahead was a calamity as PSG left one of Barcelona’s biggest aerial weapons free at a corner.

The narrative going in had been around Mbappe, who has been in and out of the PSG side at domestic level as manager Luis Enrique looks to move on from him ahead of an impending move to Real Madrid at season’s end.

The star striker got enough ball, but was well marshalled by Barcelona for the first half, with Joules Kounde at right back able to control the space around the French superstar.

Christensen gets the perfect touch in the box and a crucial goal ????

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He managed just three shots, none of which were on target, in what must have been a frustrating evening. Yet he did have one crucial moment that looked like it would swing the tie, using his express pace to set up the first PSG goal.

Dembele attempted to slide him in along the left and overhit the pass – only for Kylian to just about keep it in and return the ball to his teammate, who instantly redeemed his poor pass by chopping inside and out on Frenkie de Jong, then smashing the ball high past Mark Ter Stegen.

Mere seconds later, it got even better.

PSG come firing from half-time as they level the match ????

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On the right, Lee Kang-In held up the play, waited for Fabian Ruiz to appear and, after the Spanish midfielder has assessed the situation, he slipped a pass for Vitinha to turn the game around within five minutes of the resumption.

Barcelona were still in the sheds, but would find their way back into the game.

It was a belter when it came: Pedri, without about his first touch of the game, clipped a straight pass over the PSG defence to Raphinha, who sliced a controlled finish past Gigi Donnarumma.

Dembele rapped the post with 15 to play, but things were to get even worse for the hosts as Christiansen was able to meet a corner unmarked two yards out in the centre of the goal to return Barca to the lead.

In the other match, Dortmund rescued some hope against Atletico Madrid after a late Sebastian Haller goal gave them a fighting chance ahead of next week’s second leg.

Atletico get an early start to lead in their Quarter-Finals ????

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The Spaniards were 2-0 up at cruising thanks to goals from Rodrigo de Paul and Samuel Lino, having bossed the first half on their own turf at the Metropolitano.

Dortmund were allowed to make most of the running with the ball but, as ever, Atleti were brutal on the counter attack and went to the break two to the good.

Lino could have settled the tie in the 75th minute from a set piece but was denied by BVB keeper Gregor Kobel, who was rewarded doubly when Ivorian international Haller scored five minutes later to give Dortmund a huge chance going into the second game next week.

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