What if it was written, if it had to be like this? On the evening of the 2017 comeback, PSG had not been ridiculous in the game, which had not prevented the Parisians from being humiliated by the result, and eliminated at the end of an unreal evening. Four years later, the opposite happened on the lawn of the Parc des Princes. Largely dominated in the first period by a found Barça, carried by Dembélé and Messi, the Parisians turned their backs before managing in the second half.
Better, they could count on a penalty generously granted to Mauro Icardi to revive, while they took water from all sides. A gift that saved Paris, who was then able to manage the second half. Failing to be brilliant, Paris was solid, which is enough to qualify for the quarter-finals after the demonstration of the first leg. A victory for the bosses, in short.
Navas, guardian of the temple
In its new system with three defenders, Barça quickly took control of the evening at the Parc des Princes. And if it is indeed a Frenchman who was the key man of the first period, he was not wearing the Parisian jersey since it is Ousmane Dembélé. Back at his highest level, the 2018 world champion was Barça’s strong man, multiplying the opportunities from his left side (10th, 12th, 18th, 34th).
Underwater, the Parisians accused the blows without flinching. And four years after the disputed arbitration of the comeback in favor of Barça, it was a more than generous penalty that put PSG back in the game, when Lenglet walked on the heel of an Icardi who would not have yet received the center of Kurzawa, already captured by Ter Stegen.
Generous or not, what does it matter for Kylian Mbappé, who set off to give the Parisians a big breath of fresh air (1-0, 30th). The adjective that is essential for this opening of the score: miraculous. Completely next to his shoes, PSG opened the scoring. But another miracle occurred a few minutes later, a miracle signed Messi – obviously -, author of an absolutely divine distant strike, came to stay in the skylight of Navas (1-1st, 36th).
A cannon shot that put Barça back in the saddle. After a well-negotiated Busquets strike by Navas, the Catalans in turn got a generous penalty kick by Griezmann. Lionel Messi grabbed the ball, and the ghosts of 2017 have sprung up. Except that PSG now have a great goalkeeper in their cages and Keylor Navas repelled the Argentinian’s strike on the bar, as he had done earlier in the match on a Dest missile (23rd).
At the break, Paris was therefore inexplicably alive on the scoreboard, but on the ropes. And that, Mauricio Pochettino and his staff could not accept. We do not know what he said to himself in the Parisian locker room, but PSG returned to the pitch with a completely different face, going for Barcelona high, which has killed the pace of a match so far thrilling. These good intentions, however, did not prevent PSG from gradually retreating. Messi and Griezmann first messed up just in front of the goal (60th), before Navas – again – disgusted Busquets on a corner (70th).
Curled up on their cage, the Parisians suffered the Catalan assaults until the final whistle. But history was written, and success on their side. Four years later, Paris washes away the affront of the comeback and qualifies for the quarter-finals after a match which means a lot to the new status of PSG cador on the European scene. Because to qualify by undergoing so much, and by panicking too, it is worthy of a cador of the Old Continent.