Barcelona scored first but PSG hit back with four goals in a performance that was more impressive without the injured Neymar and Angel di Maria. Kylian Mbappe was the star man with three goals and a performance that speaks volumes for the 22-year-old 2018 World Cup winner.
Barcelona went in front in the 27th minute when Frenkie de Jong had his heel clipped by Layvin Kurzawa. It was marginal but there was enough contact to warrant the penalty. Messi stepped up to convert-his 28th career goal in the UCL round of 16.
But it took all of five minutes for an immediate riposte from Mbappe. Marco Verratti helped Kurzawa’s cross to Mbappe, who juggled and finished high past Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
He added his second in the 65th minute before Moise Kean, who started on the right flank headed PSG’s third. The fourth goal followed in the 85t minute from a breakaway led by substitute, Julian Draxler. His perfect pass left Mbappe with the task of smashing his third past Ter Stegen.
Despite the five minutes of added-on time, PSG showed more brawn and intelligence, garnished with the brilliance of Mbappe and it was a chastening defeat for the Catalans who could end the season empty-handed for the second consecutive season.
In Bucharest, Liverpool put behind them their recent slump in the EPL with a two-goal win over RB Leipzig in the neutral ground of Puskás Arena in Budapest, Romania. A defensive blunder from Leipzig captain Marcel Sabitzer gave Salah a sighter that he gobbled up.
Their second was a mirror image of the first as Nordi Mukiele lost the flight of a lofted ball leaving Sadio Mane one-on-one with former Liverpool goalkeeper, Peter Gulasci, and he kept his cool to slide the ball past the goalkeeper for the second goal.
The second legs of these encounters come up on March 10.
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