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Dejected Paris Brushed Aside by Neymar, Barça


Image: UEFA.com
Barcelona 2 - 0 Paris Saint-Germain (Aggregate: 5-1)
Neymar (14', 34')
UEFA Champions League
Tuesday 21 April 2015
7:45pm GMT Kick-off
Nou Camp, Barcelona, Spain.
Referee: Svein Oddvar Moen
Quarter final (Second leg)
[First leg match report available here]

Barcelona sealed their seventh Champions League semi-final berth in eight seasons as a brace from Neymar saw the hosts to a comfortable victory against an uninspired Paris Saint-Germain.

With the two-goal cushion obtained from the first meeting a week prior, the Blaugruna didn't wait around to take control of the game. Neymar rolled the ball into an open net after taking it from Sirigu when Iniesta provided a delightful assist for the winger.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Marco Verratti made their returns to the side but could not help substantially and they were down and out by the 34th minute when Neymar headed from Dani Alves' assist to spark celebrations in Catalonia.
Image: UEFA.com
Packed to the rafters, the Camp Nou was unified in support for the Blaugrune, with Laurent Blanc's men setting out to spoil the party. One pathway in which they wouldn't though was with David Luiz's actions, as the Brazilian got himself booked for lunging into the ball on Rakitic after a heavy touch. All focus seemed on the eccentric afro-sporting centre-half for the opening exchanges, the subsequent occasion seeing him keep his legs closed to stop Luis Suarez.

Translating the clothes they wore as they arrived at the Camp Nou—as if they had just arrived from a dinner party, the Barça seemed more than relaxed in their approach to the game and when in possession. They weren't afraid to stop chasing for the ball when it wasn't necessary, hovering their work load at a maximum just after the halfway line.

Everything was playing into the Catalanian's hands; they had numbers to thwart the breakthroughs from Paris, while going forward, it was just a slice of conviction that stopped them dropping the axe on French Champions League hopes. Neymar offloaded to Messi as he darted through the centre, but the Argentine's shot was resolutely blocked.

Half-hearted pressing up the pitch would eventually cost the visitors and lead to their somewhat inevitable conceding. It was an exhibition of beautiful football that allowed Neymar to echo the start of the first leg, as he opened the scoring, however much earlier than in the French capital. 

Andres Iniesta—who was a late announcement to the squad coming off an injury—went on a wonderful run to gift the winger. Swerving his way round the traffic, he picked out Neymar past a drifting David Luiz, touching the ball past Sirigu for a simplistic roll into the net. 
Futile celebrations would be momentarily sparked soon after by the travelling supporters. Zlatna Ibrahimovic was deemed offside as he struck the ball into the bottom right corner. Importantly though, the French showed they were ready to fight it out, with the returning Verratti powerfully winning the ball. Pastore's shot was blocked by Pique but clumsily cleared in the wrong way for a corner. 

Alarm bells would continue to sound off on the risky pressing of Paris Saint-Germain. Dani Alves found Luis Suarez in the box, setting up Lionel Messi to have a crack with a volley, but it was far too high for the star to do anything other than smash it well away from the Paris goal.

Panic and a lack of organization followed any defensive bids from Les Parisiens. Andres Iniesta again exhibited the best of his dribbling, weaving in and out before taking a fall to the ground in which referee Svein Oddvar Moen saw through right away. An injection of desire was badly needed after half-an-hour by the Ligue 1 Champions.
Image: UEFA.com
They'd need more, so much more—and a few more goals for that matter—as Neymar grabbed his second goal. Dani Alves cut in on the right and found his compatriot hovering in the space between van der Wiel and Luiz to glance a header too low for Sirigu to keep out and get the partying underway in Spain.

For the remainder of the first phase, the Spaniards kept things controlled. PSG offered little going forward and they had everything up against them.

Xavi replaced Iniesta as the second half began. Some intricaate footwork was on display from one Lionel Messi early, and simply put he had his opponents bewildered. On the cusp of th box, some great work by Suarez and Neymar then set up Messi who went for a chip, ultimately a bit under hit.

There was little life in the game. Barcelona had little reason to push forward other than entertainment reasons and keeping the fans jubilant at the Nou Camp. As chants reverberated with more than 90,000 fans in attendance, they slowly shifted it to a more inventive approach and looked relaxed doing it.

Time after time, Messi and co. were able to infiltrate behind enemy lines. The Argentine was even clearly chopped down on the edge of the box but oddly was given nothing. David Luiz made up for some, only some of his defensive woes, as he stopped Alves on a blistering run. 

Pastore continued to get heated with Alba, before Zlatan grew into the game, although hardly enough to trouble Barca. From long range, with Cavani hovering into the box, the Swede unleashed and was stopped simply by Ter Stegen.

It was becoming a story of simple cruise control. Lavezzi struck straight at Ter Stegen to epitomise Paris' game so far, and with stoppage time approaching, the game was all but over.

The fun, meanwhile continued for Barcelona. Alba linked up with Alves allowing Messi to have a long range strike that drifted wide. At the sound of the full time whistle, the inevitable ensued—Barcelona were through to the UEFA Champions League semi-finals.

Reaction, analysis

Many said this game was over by the first leg, others doubted, a fair few picked Paris to emulate the passion that turned the tide on Chelsea again on Barca—but most importantly, the players played like it was over.

Paris' pressing was half-hearted; they left themselves prone to the searing force and pace of the Barca counter, and it goes to show once more that the Nou Camp houses the best front-three in World football by a mile.

Andres Iniesta hardly looked like he had suffered an injury over the week—the Spaniard not only demonstrated this with his fantastic run to set up the opener, he was a consistent force holding the midfield together throughout the first-half he featured in.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic only got going from around the 80th minute onwards, and the most he could produce was a tame effort stopped dead and at ease by Ter Stegen. Edinson Cavani began to find space when it was all over, but it didn't mean anything, since the game was exactly that—over.

David Luiz stuttered into the game and its further evidence for Laurent Blanc to conclude that his centre-back days are no more. The first goal saw him drift forward allowing Neymar to simply run past him, and the second he was simply a spectator like van der Wiel as Neymar pocked between the two defenders before heading past Sirigu. 

Barca echoed their pure quality. That Champions League title is looming.

More: Champions League latest
Champions League: Bayern Munich 6-1 Porto match report


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Review,1,World Cup Featured,6,World Cup Match Zone,6,World Cup News,3,World Cup Qualifiers,1,World Cup Review,2,World Football,1,World Matchplay Darts 2015,6,World Series,4,World Series 2015,2,World Series 2016,5,World Twenty20,1,World Wrestling Entertainment,3,Wresting,10,WrestleMania,26,WrestleMania 30,12,WrestleMania 31,7,WrestleMania 32,4,Wrestlemania 33,4,Wrestling,92,Wrestling Spoilers,2,WWE,180,WWE 2013,18,WWE 2014,36,WWE 2015,29,WWE 2016,41,WWE 2017,8,WWE Battleground,5,WWE Battleground 2013,2,WWE Comment,68,WWE Elimination Chamber,1,WWE Elimination Chamber 2014,1,WWE Extreme Rules,3,WWE Extreme Rules 2014,2,WWE Extreme Rules 2015,2,WWE Extreme Rules 2016,2,WWE Fast Lane 2015,2,WWE Fast Lane 2016,1,WWE Hell in a Cell,4,WWE Money in the Bank,3,WWE Money in the Bank 2015,1,WWE Money in the Bank 2016,2,WWE News,1,WWE Night of Champions,1,WWE Opinion,2,WWE Payback,5,WWE Payback 2015,2,WWE Payback 2016,2,WWE PPV,17,WWE Predictions,3,WWE Preview,3,WWE Reports,1,WWE Royal Rumble,4,WWE 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TheSportMatrix | We Live For Sport: Dejected Paris Brushed Aside by Neymar, Barça
Dejected Paris Brushed Aside by Neymar, Barça
Barcelona seal their seventh UEFA Champions League semi-final berth in eight seasons as Neymar's brace leads to a comfortable victory over Paris Saint-Germain.
TheSportMatrix | We Live For Sport
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