UEFA Champions League: Mbappe Stars As PSG Beat 10-man Barcelona

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Luis Enrique returned to Barcelona to knock his former club out of the Champions League as Kylian Mbappe inspired Paris Saint-Germain to a pulsating 4-1 second-leg victory, winning 6-4 on aggregate.

The team fought back from 3-2 down in the first leg and 1-0 down on Tuesday night to progress to the final four, where they will face Borussia Dortmund for a place in Wembley’s final.

Barcelona extended its lead on the night when Raphinha converted Lamine Yamal’s cross. But the game turned on referee Istvan Kovacs’ decision to send off Ronald Araujo for a professional foul on Bradley Barcola at the 29th minute.

 

PSG was ruthless in making its numerical advantage count as the team members hauled themselves back into the tie through Ousmane Dembele before half-time.

Enrique’s side didn’t take their foot off the gas upon the restart as Vintinha levelled the contest with a fine strike before a rash challenge from Joao Cancelo in the box allowed Mbappe to put the French club ahead on aggregate.

With Barcelona committing players forward in the closing stages, Mbappe stretched PSG’s lead after pouncing on a poor clearance from Jules Kounde after Marc-Andre ter Stegen had saved his initial effort to cap a captivating night at the Estadio Olimpico de Montjuic.

The French champions have never won the trophy despite huge investment but demonstrated they have the attacking weapons in their squad to do so. PSG coach Luis Enrique, who led Barca to the 2015 Champions League, said he believed his team would turn things around despite never having managed to after a first-leg home defeat, and so it proved.

“It looked bad but the team concentrated – whatever happened, we had to beat Barcelona,” said Dembele, whistled heavily by fans of his former club.

Barcelona coach, Xavi complained bitterly to referee Kovacs, and ended up being shown a red card himself, which did not stop him from going back to the pitch at the final whistle to voice his frustration again at the Romanian official.

“The referee was really bad. I told him his performance was a disaster. I don’t like to talk about referees, but it had a clear impact in the season and it has to be said,” Xavi told the press. “We are very upset and angry because the red card was the decisive factor in the match. With 11 (players) we were in a good position, playing well and in command.

“It’s too much to flash a red card in a game like this. There was another game after that… It is a pity that the work of the season was ruined by an unnecessary expulsion.”

PSG will now play Dortmund in the semi-finals, having already met the team in the group phase of this season’s competition. The German team also performed a turnaround in their tie with Atletico Madrid, responding to last week’s 2-1 defeat in Spain with a 4-2 win in their second leg, resulting in a 5-4 aggregate triumph.

 

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