Rough night for young Americans in Champions League

Sergino Dest and Tyler Adams made history on Tuesday when they became the first pair of Americans to start the same day in the UEFA Champions League’s knockout stage.

At 20, Dest is the second youngest American, after Christian Pulisic, to start in the knockout stage. Adams was starting his first game in the tournament. (All seven previous appearances came as sub, including the 2020 quarterfinal game in which he scored the winner against Atletico Madrid.)

But their teams were both badly outplayed and lost their home legs.

Dest will be seeing Kylian Mbappe in his dreams for a while. The Frenchman scored a hat trick to lead Paris St. Germain to a 4-1 win over Barcelona at the Nou Camp. he flew past Dest at will in the second half and scored two of his three goals with Dest still on the field.

On Mbappe’s first goal that tied the score five minutes after Lionel Messi‘s opening penalty kick, winger Ousname Dembele was as much or more to blame as Dest for not getting to Layvin Kurzawa, whose pass found Mbappe. On the second goal, Dest lost sight of the Mbappe in the middle of the penalty area but had no chance to getting to a deflected ball that the French star easily put away.

Dest looked bedraggled as he left the game in the 71st minute. If there was any solace for the young Dutch-American, Mbappe added a third goal after Oscar Mingueza entered the game in Dest’s place.

L’Equipe, the French sports daily gave Dest a rating of “2” (scale 1-10), the worst rating of any player on the field. Dest was one of three Barca players Barcelona sports daily Sport gave a “3” (same 1-10 scale). Mundo Deportivo, the other Barcelona sports daily, said Mbappe “ate him up” and Dest “was probably relieved” when he was taken out.

After the game, Barca coach Ronald Koeman admitted that his team has been struggling.

“You always have to aspire to win everything,” he said, “but we have to recognize that we’re short in certain areas.”

But Koeman went out of his way to protect Dest and Pedri, the youngest Barca starter at the age of 18.

“I have said several times that we’re on the right path,” he said, “but we lack things. Dest at 20, in four years will be better. Pedri, at his age is already brilliant, but in five years he will be better than any PSG midfielder. It’s tough, especially with the [demands] from the press. But I am realistic. I always defend my team. We did everything. We can defend better; we can be more aggressive and we’re going to change that and work on it.”

Feb. 16 in Barcelona
Barcelona 1 Paris SG 4. Goals: Messi pen. 27; Mbappe 32, 64, 85; Kean 70.
Barcelona — Ter Stegen; Dest (Mingueza 71), Pique (Riqui Puig 78), Lenglet, Alba; De Jong, Sergio Busquets (Pjanic 78), Pedri (Trincao 78); Messi, Griezmann (Braithwaite 84), Dembele.
Paris SG — Navas; Florenzi (Kehrer 89), Marquinhos, Kimpembe, Kurzawa; Paredes, Gueye (Herrera 46); Kean (Danilo 84), Verratti (Draxler 73), Mbappe; Icardi.

Adams’ RB Leipzig fell to Liverpool, 2-0, in a match moved to Budapest because travel restrictions prevented Liverpool from entering Germany.

Adams was something of a surprise starter, lining up at right wing back while Frenchman Nordi Mukiele started on the right side of the backline. Both Liverpool goals were gifts by Leipzig players, Marcel Sabitzer and Mukiele.

Adams, who played in a role since to his first start with the U.S. national team under Gregg Berhalter, was involved in the Leipzig attack, setting up South Korean Hwang Hee-chan for a chance at the end of the game.

Feb. 16 in Budapest
RB Leipzig 0 Liverpool 2. Goals: Salah 53, Mane 58.
RB Leipzig — Gulacsi; Mukiele (Orban, 64), Upamecano, Klostermann; Adams, Haidara (Poulsen 64), Kampl (Hwang, 73), Sabitzer, Angelino; Dani Olmo, Nkunku.
Liverpool — Alisson; Alexander-Arnold, Kabak, Henderson, Robertson; Wijnaldum, Thiago (Oxlade-Chamberlain 72), Curtis Jones; Salah (Williams 90), Firmino (Shaqiri 72), Mane.

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