Barcelona Clinch Thrilling Victory Over PSG to Seize Momentum

Barcelona Clinch Thrilling Victory Over PSG to Seize Momentum | UEFA Champions League

Andreas Christensen emerged from the bench to score the decisive goal as Barcelona secured a thrilling 3-2 victory over Paris Saint-Germain in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final clash on Wednesday.

Raphinha had previously netted twice for Barcelona at the Parc des Princes, breaking the deadlock late in the first half and then equalizing with a volley to make it 2-2 shortly after the hour mark. In the midst of Barcelona’s goals, PSG had surged ahead with two quick strikes early in the second half, neither coming from Kylian Mbappe.

Ousmane Dembele, facing his former club, and Vitinha briefly put PSG in the lead before Barcelona mounted a stunning comeback to seize control of the tie. Christensen’s goal, scored shortly after he was substituted in on his 28th birthday, ended PSG’s 27-game unbeaten streak and handed Barcelona a lead to defend in the return leg next Tuesday.

The second leg will take place at Montjuic, Barcelona’s temporary home, rather than the Camp Nou, where Barcelona famously defeated PSG 6-1 in 2017 and where Mbappe scored a memorable hat-trick in a 2021 encounter between the two teams. Despite PSG being seen as favorites for this tie, partly due to the presence of Mbappe and Dembele in their attack, Barcelona’s resilience proved decisive.

Security was heightened at all quarter-final matches this week following threats from the Islamic State group against stadiums. However, much of the focus of this match turned to the selection choices made by PSG coach Luis Enrique, who notably left out Achraf Hakimi due to suspension and opted for Marco Asensio over teenage sensation Warren Zaire-Emery.

The significance of the occasion for PSG, who returned to the quarter-finals after being eliminated in the round of 16 in five of the previous seven seasons, was evident with former star Ronaldinho parading ahead of the game and home fans staging a Star Wars-themed display. However, PSG struggled to live up to the occasion, with Mbappe failing to make his usual impact in a crucial match.

Barcelona, appearing in the Champions League quarter-finals for the first time in four years and without Lionel Messi for the first time in many seasons, grew into the game and nearly took the lead in the 20th minute. Despite an early scare, Barcelona capitalized on defensive lapses by PSG, with Raphinha and Christensen proving instrumental in their victory.

It was a pulsating encounter, with both teams creating numerous chances, but it was Barcelona who ultimately emerged triumphant, setting the stage for an enticing second leg.

Atletico Holds Off Late Dortmund Push for Victory

In another UCL match Atletico Madrid delivered a commanding first-half performance, scoring twice, but had to weather a late surge from Borussia Dortmund to secure a hard-fought 2-1 victory in their Champions League quarter-final first leg on Wednesday.

Seeking their first semi-final berth in seven years, Atletico Madrid immediately pressed Dortmund with an intense high-pressing strategy. Their efforts paid off just four minutes into the game when Rodrigo De Paul capitalized on a defensive mistake by Dortmund goalkeeper Gregor Kobel, intercepting a pass intended for Ian Maatsen and calmly slotting the ball into the net.

Struggling to break out of their own half, Dortmund faced relentless pressure from Atletico Madrid. Another defensive lapse in the 32nd minute allowed Samuel Lino to extend Atletico’s lead. Lino, who will miss the return leg after receiving a booking, came close to scoring again in the 75th minute, but Kobel made a spectacular save to deny him a second goal. However, Dortmund managed to reduce the deficit when Sebastien Haller scored six minutes later, giving them hope heading into the second leg next Tuesday.

Despite Dortmund hitting the woodwork twice late in the game, Atletico Madrid held on to secure a vital advantage going into the return leg.

Related Posts