Kylian Mbappe scored a brilliant hat-trick as PSG completely outplayed Barcelona at the Camp Nou to take charge of their round-of-16 Champions League tie.
Lionel Messi opened the scoring against the run of play from the penalty spot after a trip on Frenkie de Jong by Layvin Kurzawa, but it was PSG who created the better of the chances throughout the game.
And the visitors deservedly equalised when Kurzawa and Marco Verratti combined to set up a chance and Mbappe’s quick feet and powerful finish left the Barca defence looking bemused as the ball nestled in the back of the net.
PSG carried on where they left off after the break and extended their lead when Mbappe slotted home his second of the night with just over an hour on the clock. Moise Kean added the third, heading home unmarked from a free-kick, and the brilliant Mbappe completed his hat-trick on 85 minutes with a sumptuous finish at the end of a blistering counter-attack.
The away win leaves PSG in complete control of the tie ahead of the second leg in Paris on March 10.
Talking Point – The King is dead. Long live the King!
Lionel Messi sauntered around the Nou Camp pitch producing the quality contributions on the ball that we’ve come to expect from the greatest player the game has ever seen. But Messi’s low-octane involvement whenever he was out of possession was in stark contrast to that of Mbappe, who had Barcelona’s defence in the palm of his hand with his clever movement and runs in behind.
The 22-year-old played with the sort of intensity that Messi just can’t muster these days, and, as much as it sounds like sacrilege to say it, a manager would have a pretty easy choice if he had to pick between the two of them right now.
Messi will still produce moments of outrageous quality right through until he retires, but Mbappe is the coming force at the top of the game and he showed that in style on a memorable night in Barcelona.
Paris Saint-Germain's French forward Kylian Mbappe scores a goal during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 first leg football match between FC Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain FC at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona on February 16, 2021
Image credit: Getty Images
Man of the Match – Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain)
The French forward was by far the best player on the pitch, looking dangerous every time he got on the ball. His finish in the first-half looked like he was operating at a higher speed than any of the defenders around him, but it was after the break that he really came into his own.
The whipped shot into the far top corner for the hat-trick was particularly impressive, but he could even have had more given the amount of time and space he made for himself in the final third.
Poor Sergino Dest will have nightmares about Mbappe, and the American was so comprehensively outplayed that Ronald Koeman had little choice but to put him out of his misery and sub him off with plenty of time left on the clock.
Barcelona: Ter Stegen 6; Dest 3, Piqué 4, Lenglet 5, Alba 5; De Jong 6, Busquets 5, Pedri 6; Dembélé 5, Messi 7, Griezmann 7. Subs: Mingueza 6, Puig 6, Pjanic 6, Trincão 6, Braithwaite 6.
27’ GOAL! Kurzawa trips De Jong in the box and the decisions stands after a lengthy video review. Messi hammers the spot-kick into the top corner and it's 1-0 to Barcelona.
32’ GOAL! Kylian Mbappe you beautiful player, what a finish that is! Barca switch off and Mbappe’s quick feet send him into space in the box before he rockets his shot past a helpless Ter Stegen. That all happened so fast that Barca could barely react. World-class. 1-1!
50’ – Ter Stegen makes a great save as Kean’s deflected shot forces him to readjust. Strangely, the chance for Kean came from a selfless flick from Icardi who was probably in a better position to take on the shot. It all came, again, from great work by Mbappe.
65’ GOAL! PSG have the lead and it’s that man Mbappe who’s got it. Barca are ripped apart down their left, and Florenzi’s cross towards Icardi is only partially cleared, with the loose ball falling at the feet of Mbappe. It’s the best possible player for PSG to have on the end of his chance and he keeps his cool to slot home. 2-1 PSG!
67’ – Mbappe almost bags his hat-trick goal, only for the trailing leg of Ter Stegen to block his shot. He was given far too much space on the break again before squaring up Dest and hammering a shot towards goal.
70’ GOAL! It’s another for PSG and it’s Moise Kean who’s got it. An excellent free-kick is asking for a finish, and Kean delivers with a good header. Nobody picked up his run in the Barcelona defence. 3-1.
80’ – What a let-off for Navas that is! The PSG keeper tries a cheeky flicked pass and it’s blocked by Griezmann, with the deflection very nearly nestling in the back of the net!
85’ GOAL! It’s a hat-trick for Mbappe as he finishes off a counter-attack with a brilliant finish into the top corner. Draxler did well to hold onto the ball as he burst forward on the break, drawing in the defenders before teeing up Mbappe, but the finish was right out of the top drawer. 4-1!
Stats and Facts
Mbappe is the first player to score a European hat-trick against Barcelona since Andriy Shevchenko for Dynamo Kyiv in 1997.
Barcelona have only lost by three or more goals at the Camp Nou six times in the last 21 seasons. Half of those defeats have come in this campaign.