Barca eliminated from Champions League

Afp, Paris

12 March, 2021 12:00 AM printer

Barca eliminated from Champions League

Paris Saint-Germain goalkeeper Keylor Navas (left) celebrates after saving a penalty kick taken by Barcelona forward Lionel Messi during their UEFA Champions League round of 16 second leg match at Parc des Princes Stadium in Paris on Wednesday. – AFP PHOTO

Lionel Messi scored one stunning goal but then had a penalty saved as Barcelona failed in their attempt to produce a second Champions League comeback for the ages against Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday, a 1-1 draw taking the French side through to the quarter-finals 5-2 on aggregate.

Kylian Mbappe had netted a hat-trick as PSG stunned Barca 4-1 in the first leg last month, and he extended their advantage in this last-16 tie by netting a first-half penalty in the second leg to put last season's runners-up ahead on the night.

But Messi made it 1-1 with a ferocious strike from 30 metres and the Argentine had the chance to put the visitors ahead after Antoine Griezmann was fouled in the area, only for the outstanding Keylor Navas to tip his spot-kick onto the bar.

Meanwhile PSG are, in the end, safely through to the quarter-finals as they look to go one better than last season and win the Champions League for the first time.

They will feel this tie marks another step forward in their quest to become Europe's dominant force, after three defeats at Barcelona's hands in knockout ties since the Qatar Sports Investments takeover of a decade ago.

Victory was achieved despite Neymar missing both legs due to injury, with Mbappe providing enough stardust on his own.

Barcelona kept coming though, and Messi equalised with a shot from range that was like a tracer bullet that whistled into the top corner, not the kind of goal the Argentine scores often.

It was his 25th this season, and he could have scored again in first-half stoppage time as Layvin Kurzawa was penalised for catching Griezmann in the box.

However, Messi was denied by Navas, the former Real Madrid goalkeeper dousing Barcelona's hopes as he continued to do in the second half.

The five-time champions kept pushing after the restart, but Navas notably saved well from a near-post header by Sergio Busquets, allowing PSG to earn a draw on the night that they scarcely deserved but a win on aggregate that was always likely after the first leg.

 


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