Barcelona has been flying high since the beginning of January. They were on a great run and the players were all in form and doing their jobs. Most importantly, Lionel Messi was back in form and scoring goals left and right. The Argentine even managed to catch up to Luis Suarez and is now just one goal behind the Uruguayan striker. However, their form came crashing down last night when they lost 4-1 to Paris Saint-Germain and the Catalans along with their coach were given a reality check by the French giants.
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The Catalan kings had only lost twice in their last 18 matches across all competitions and were thus confident while going into the match. Along with that, PSG were, unfortunately, missing two of their most important players, Neymar and Angel di Maria. This gave the advantage to Barcelona once again and they were the team tipped to win in the first leg at the Camp Nou stadium. However, this of course did not go according to plan and the Catalans were humiliated in their own backyard.
After a decent first half where they should have scored two goals, the Catalans went into the locker room with the game locked in a tie. There were decent displays of performances from Pedri, Antoine Griezmann, and Marc-Andre ter Stegen but in the second half it all fell apart and PSG showed Barcelona why they were the more complete team.
Kylian Mbappe ended up scoring a hat-trick and Moise Kean was also on the score sheet via a decent header but anyone who saw the match will see that Barcelona gave the French Champions room to exploit them and of course PSG took advantage of their mistakes. The first goal could have been avoided had the defense kept their concentration, the second goal happened because Gerard Pique was unable to clear the ball properly and the third goal was headed in by Kean as no-one marked him.
The fourth one was a great counterattack by PSG which was finished off nicely by Mbappe. This match was a reminder to Koeman and the fans that Barcelona is still not a complete team. The Spaniards are still going through a phase of transformation and reinvention. They have fallen off from the pedestal of the European giants and must climb their way back up the ladder.
It is unlikely that the team will be able to turn things around in the second leg, as PSG will probably have Neymar and the match will also be away from home but there is always hope. Finally, the team should focus on trying to overturn their first tie against Sevilla in the Copa del Rey as that is the only silverware that looks likely for the Catalans to lift this season.
Can Barca perform another remontada in Paris?