The fixture slated to be a treat for Valentine’s day turned out to be a nightmare for Spanish giants Barcelona, who got thumped 4-0 by PSG in the French capital.
It was the first leg of the UEFA Champions League round of 16 tie between the two heavyweights who have made the continental club competition a primary target.
PSG began the game on the front foot, dictating the tempo and pressing their opponents up the pitch, unsettling the tiki-taka masters’ rhythm.
Sergi Roberto was seen as a weakness in the Barca defense and was targeted from the beginning. He did well to block a goal-bound Cavani shot before Marc-Andre Ter Stegen was twice called to action in the first 10 minutes.
The pressure was made to count in the 17th minute after Draxler got fouled by Samuel Umtiti a few yards outside the box.
Di Maria took the resulting freekick with aplomb, striking the ball beautifully over the wall and into the net leaving Ter Stegen with no chance.
The former Real Madrid playmaker celebrated widely as he got the perfect birthday gift having turned 29 that day.
PSG continued to attack Barcelona and doubled their lead through Draxler after Marco Verratti robbed the ball off Lionel Messi on the halfway line and supplied the German winger who finished with conviction.
Barca only managed to come up with one significant attack in the first period which fell to Andre Gomes who failed to convert.
The former European champions were facing an uphill task in the second half, but if anybody could overturn a 2-goal deficit, you would put your money on them.
The second half began with Barcelona trying to get into their groove which was matched by PSG’s hunger, youthfulness, athleticism, and enthusiasm.
The Parisians chased down every pass and pushed the ball forward at every opportunity as they got their third goal via the birthday boy in the 55th minute.
Angel Di Maria picked the ball up 30 yards away from the opponent’s post and dribbled his way past a couple of challenges before bending a pinpoint strike into the net.
The same happened for the fourth goal as Thomas Meunier got possession from right back and drove into the Barcelona half before playing in the other birthday boy, Edinson Cavani who found a yard on Gerard Pique and drilled a shot past Ter Stegen.
It was a disastrous performance by Barcelona who were somewhat unlucky not to get an away goal in the 83rd minute. Pique headed back an over hit corner kick to Umtiti who headed the ball against the post.
The Catalans record-breaking front three were reduced to bystanders all through the night, outsmarted by a defense which did not feature captain Thiago Silva. The Brazilian was sidelined by injury.
Unai Emery was forced to give a Champions League debut to Presnel Kimpembe who put in a splendid performance and looked very comfortable on the ball despite being in the presence of MSN.
Marco Veratti and Adrien Rabiot also put in huge performances, rivaling the efforts of the goal scorers.
Speaking after the match, Barcelona coach Luis Enrique admitted his side were all but out of the Champions League.
”It is difficult to explain. They were superior to us from the start. It was a disastrous night for us in which we were clearly inferior. There’s not much more to say.”
”PSG did what we expected them to do and produced their best version and we were at our poorest. It’s extremely difficult for us now but we go back to our stadium and really we need a heroic performance. But why not dream.”
Since 2007, Barcelona has never been eliminated before the quarter-finals although no team has ever come back from a first leg four-goal deficit in the Champions League era.
All these statistics make for a mouth-watering second leg which will be played on March 8th.