Valentine's Day 2017 may go down as the day Paris Saint-Germain finally fell in love with the Champions League.
Paris Saint-Germain 4-0 Barcelona
In front of a partisan support at the Parc des Princes, Unai Emery's team handed out a merciless beating to one of the tournament's favourites, as Di Maria's delightful double, Draxler's strike and Cavani's top-up put Barcelona down for the count.
|Image and featured image: UEFA.com|
Visiting keeper Marc Andre ter Stegen was already appearing to feel the pressure but he wouldn't buckle when Matuidi bundled a stinging shot towards him. A surging run from the midfielder ended with the saved shot, and the rebound from Rabiot also caused a scare. They continued to fan the flames and Barcelona were on the backfoot.
PSG would get the lead they deserved with a piece of magic from Angel Di Maria. A free-kick from 20 yards out was beautifully darted into the top right corner leaving the keeper with no chance of stopping. The Parc ds Princes exploded with joy - their team were soaring.
|Image: Champions League|
No changes over the 15 minute break in terms of substitutions, but the same could have been said for the approach of the French champions. They charged forward without caution, chasing down the ball, and had it not been for Cavani messing up again, a few more could have been added to the tally.
It was a surreal bit of viewing in the ground as Barcelona were simply beaten at every corner. And then more brilliance from their opponents, Paris - starting with Rabiot who continued an incredulous performance by starting a move with electric footwork, before the ball rallied around and came to Angel Di Maria. On his left boot, he beautifully swept it home and fans were in awe.
Di Maria... what a goal pic.twitter.com/3vq8pKE9wv— agit (@agitdz) February 14, 2017
The Spaniards continuously tried to string something together but it was looking more and more like a mismatch. It was already over, however Paris weren't done. Edinson Cavani finally bagged himself a goal when he drilled it into the bottom right corner of the frame and it was four. The tie was pretty much settled.
- 34 goals for the season— Match of the Day (@BBCMOTD) February 14, 2017
- 10 in his last seven games
Edinson Cavani 🔥 https://t.co/OGSS8QfXxZ #PSGFCB pic.twitter.com/upfCsntoAK
Neymar showed signs of life along with some displays of a side comprehensively beaten, hitting off target on a few occasions, before Umtiti struck the post in the most open of headers as it fell towards him from a corner - denying Barcelona of an away goal that would have been minuscule even if retrieved at this stage.
It was all settled - and the clock rolled down to the final whistle with the eruption of PSG fans, uniting together and saluting the crowd. A second-leg trip awaits to the Camp Nou, but it's done, it's surely done: PSG are flying through to the quarter-finals. Barcelona were absolutely blown away.