The UCL was back on the night of 17th Feb 2021. We saw the two best teams in Europe Barcelona & PSG dash against each other for the knock-out round of UCL round of 16 1st leg. The game was expected to be intense in all aspects and it was actually intense. The result wasn’t so pleasing for Barcelona and their supporters but was satisfying enough for the PSG and their supporters. Despite the absence of Neymar and Angel Di Maria PSG was able to cause a big upset at Camp Nou.


FC Barcelona started with a 433 formation along with

We saw Ter Stegen in the box. Gerard Pique a player who was out for 4 months with a muscle injury returned in the starting 11 along with Lenglet in the central defense. Jordi Alba and Dest returned in the lineup. In midfield Busquets along with De Jong and young Pedri started. Griezmann Messi, Dembele in the attack.

And for PSG

We saw Keylor Nawas in the box. Kimpebe and Keher started in central defense.  Kurzawa and Florenzi started as the fullback pairing. Then in midfield, Marco Verrati, Gueye, and Leonardo Pardes started. Then in the attack, Mbappe on the left flank, Moises Kean on the right flank, and Mauro Icardi as their poacher upfront.

1st Half

The half started with the Catalan Giants trying to dominate PSG. But PSG was able to play the ball in the middle. The team from Paris pressed really well to win the procession. As the half progressed Pedri started giving good passes and making a build-up and Frenkie De Jong trying to create spaces. Sergino Dest was ready for the pace battle against the best Mbappe. He was successful in keeping him quiet at the bay throughout the 1st half. Leo Messi dropped deep so as to get the passes from the back and pass it to other players in order to create something.

Mbappe (PSG)

The ploy of Messi dropping deep actually worked as we saw Messi making unstoppable passes into the box to de Jong. One such pass led to De Jong was brought down inside the box by the PSG defender which resulted in  Barcelona win the penalty. Leo Messi scores that penalty on the 27th min. And the scoreline was 1-0. But not much time we saw PSG players reflecting on it within 5 min of the penalty. French star Mbappe scores a great goal which was actually a defensive mistake by Clement Lenglet of Barcelona. After conceding that goal we saw Barcelona trying to win the ball possession and making solo runs inside the opposition box. This resulted in a few gaps in PSG defence which created few chances which Barcelona attackers failed to convert those into goals. The half ended in 1-1 scoreline.

2nd Half

2nd Half started with Mauricio Pochentino making a chance typically with a chess move. Mbappe who was playing on wings swapped position with Icardi and moved in a more central position which meant he doesn’t have to face Dest. This move changes the game completely. Mbappe outpaced everybody in the center. He was just unstoppable throughout the match. The PSG was then dominating Barcelona completely. Antoine Griezmann was involved in both defensive and attacking duties. We saw Mbappe score his 2nd goal of the match at the 65th min mark.  

Antoine Griezmann, Ousmane Dembele missed some great chances. In the 70th minute, the Barcelona coach made some substitutions Trincao came in place of Pedri, Puig in place of Pique, and Pjanic in place of Busquets. This resulted in FDJ taking up the Pique position at center-back. This gave PSG attackers more room and we saw on 70th min Moise Kean score a free header past Ter Stegen. And eventually, we saw Mbappe completing his hattrick in Camp Nou.

Thus the match ended with a humiliating defeat to Barcelona at their fortress Camp Nou with a scoreline 0f 4-1.

Messi dejected (Barcelona)


This was one of the best individual performances in camp Nou by a visiting player. This match was absolutely entertaining and the 2nd leg would call up some of the key comebacks. “The Remontada” 2.0.?? As the away form of FC Barcelona has been much better in 2021.  Barca played 12 away games winning 11 out of them and losing just 1. Which shows a huge possibility that Barca might comeback in the 2nd leg. PSG stars Neymar jr and angel di maria are also expected to come back to the PSG attack against Fc Barcelona at home. So we might see the much-awaited Messi-Neymar get-together in Paris. Now all the football fans await for the second leg of this encounter.

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Surendra Satyanarayan

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