PSG edge out Barça in thriller

Paris Saint-Germain vs Barcelona  

Paris Saint-Germain have pulled off a 3-2 victory against Barcelona in an exhilarating contest. The Parisians held on for over half an hour to deny the visitors victory. The game started at a fairly quick pace, both sides looking to keep possession while attempting penetrative passing moves. A tenth minute free kick to the home side, however, changed the game dramatically, as David Luiz outdid Javier Mascherano in the air and put the ball past Marc-Andre ter Stegen into the bottom corner. Barça didn’t have to wait long for the equaliser, however, a perfectly constructed passing move allowing Lionel Messi to score past Salvatore Sirigu. The game continued in the same manner, Messi nearly sending through Neymar with an ingenious ball, but a Lucas corner again exposed Barça’s weakness at set pieces. Marco Verratti found space behind Ivan Rakitić and headed the ball past an out of position ter Stegen to again give PSG the lead. Both sides continued with their styles of play, PSG nearly catching Barça out on the counter-attack a few times, but the score was the same when the teams came in for the break.

The even contest of the first half continued after the break, and after Blaise Matuidi finished off Gregory van der Wiel’s cross PSG took a 3-1 lead and a clear advantage. The two-goal buffer didn’t last long, however, after Dani Alves’ cross flew over the contest to Neymar, who finished calmly. Barça continued to push, but were consistently knocked back by the Parisian defence, while Javier Pastore initiated a number of dangerous attacks from inside PSG’s defensive half. Manager Luis Enrique started to make changes, with Xavi and young guns Munir El Haddadi and Sandro Ramírez brought on. Jordi Alba had a perfect opportunity in the 82nd when his attempt from inside the 6-yard box was brilliantly blocked by a sliding Marquinhos. Munir’s long range effort hit the post, and Ramírez only just missed the target from just inside the area. Barça kept pushing, and PSG kept denying them. PSG started to take advantage of Barça’s defensive imbalance on the counter-attack, and Barça were not able to deny them victory on the night.

Paris – Parc des Princes
Paris Saint-Germain FC 3 (David Luiz 10, Verratti 26, Matuidi 54)
FC Barcelona 2 (Messi 12, Neymar 56)
Referee: Rizzoli (Ita)
Paris Saint-Germain: Sirigu – van der Wiel, Marquinhos, David Luiz, Maxwell, Verratti (Cabaye 71), Thiago Motta, Matuidi, Lucas (Bahebeck 90+1), Cavani, Pastore (Chantôme 86).

Barcelona: ter Stegen – Daniel Alves (Ramírez 83), Mascherano, Mathieu, Jordi Alba, Rakitić (Xavi Hernández 69), Busquets, Iniesta, Pedro Rodríguez (El Haddadi 69), Messi, Neymar.

Top 5
1. Javier Pastore (Paris Saint-Germain)
Pastore started the game slowly, but as the match went on his influence grew. In the second half he was one of the most influential players on either side, with his runs, sometimes starting deep in his own half, often fortuitously disrupting the momentum of Barcelona’s attack.
2. David Luiz (Paris Saint-Germain)
Playing in the heart of defence Luiz barely lost an aerial contest all day, and his early goal was influential in shaping the course of the match. As the pressure ramped up he stepped up, winning several key aerial contests and making many key blocks with his head.
3. Lucas (Paris Saint-Germain)
Lucas was the best player on the field from both sides in the first half, his pace far too great for anyone Barça could assign to him. His corners and free-kicks, two of which bore goals, provided the Barcelona defence with many headaches, and while he dropped off in the second half he was still one of the best on ground.
4. Lionel Messi (Barcelona)
Messi scored an early goal, and was one of the best players in the first half. He was Barça’s creative fulcrum, and the chipped pass he played over three PSG defenders was one of the best balls played during the match. In the end he provided a lot of trouble for the PSG defence.
5. Blaise Matuidi (Paris Saint-Germain)
Matuidi was one of the hardest working players on the ground, going from attack to defence and playing his role to perfection. His goal in the second half gave PSG a definite edge in the match, but his concise passing and hard-running was what set him apart.

In other matches:
Moscow: A Thomas Muller penalty was the only goal of the match as Bayern Munich defeated CSKA Moscow.
Manchester: Francesco Totti’s strike cancelled out Sergio Aguero’s early penalty as Manchester City drew Roma.
Nicosia: Ajax and APOEL drew 1-1 after Lucas Andersen’s goal was cancelled out by Gustavo Manduca’s penalty.
Lisbon: Nemanja Matic scored the only goal of the game as Chelsea beat Sporting.
Gelsenkirchen: Damjan Bohar’s first-half effort was cancelled out by Klaas-Jan Huntelaar as Maribor drew Schalke.
Lviv: After missing an early penalty and going 2-0 down in the 85th two goals from substitute Jackson Martinez saved Porto from defeat at Shakhtar.
Barysaw: Goals from Dzyanis Polyakow and Alyaksandr Karnitskiy were enough to give BATE Borisov a 2-1 victory over Athletic Bilbao.

Tables

Group E P W D L GF GA GD Pts
FC Bayern München 2 2 0 0 2 0 2 6
AS Roma 2 1 1 0 6 2 4 4
Manchester City FC 2 0 1 1 1 2 -1 1
PFC CSKA Moskva 2 0 0 2 1 6 -5 0
                 
Group F P W D L GF GA GD Pts
Paris Saint-Germain FC 2 1 1 0 4 3 1 4
FC Barcelona 2 1 0 1 3 3 0 3
AFC Ajax 2 0 2 0 2 2 0 2
APOEL FC 2 0 1 1 1 2 -1 1
                 
Group G P W D L GF GA GD Pts
Chelsea FC 2 1 1 0 2 1 1 4
NK Maribor 2 0 2 0 2 2 0 2
FC Schalke 04 2 0 2 0 2 2 0 2
Sporting Clube de Portugal 2 0 1 1 1 2 -1 1
                 
Group H P W D L GF GA GD Pts
FC Porto 2 1 1 0 8 2 6 4
FC BATE Borisov 2 1 0 1 2 7 5 3
FC Shakhtar Donetsk 2 0 2 0 2 2 0 2
Athletic Club 2 0 1 1 1 2 -1 1
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