Mbappe scores twice as PSG beat Barca to reach CL semi-finals


Agency :
Paris St Germain (PSG)’s Kylian Mbappe scored twice in the second half to help his side to a 4-1 comeback win at 10-man Barcelona in their Champions League (CL) quarter-final, second leg to wrap up a 6-4 aggregate victory on Tuesday.

After winning 3-2 in Paris and taking a 1-0 lead with an early Raphinha goal in the return, Barca collapsed after going down to 10 men just before the half-hour when last man Ronald Araujo was red-carded for fouling Bradley Barcola.

Former Barcelona forward Ousmane Dembele equalized for the visitors just before the break while Vitinha and Mbappe finished the job in the second half, with PSG facing Borussia Dortmund in the semi-finals after the Germans beat Atletico Madrid.

Having failed to get past the round of 16 in the last two seasons and being pinned against the ropes by a Barca side who were in the ascendancy, PSG put on a gritty performance to make the most of the home side’s mistakes and turn the tie around.

“I feel very proud, the players showed a lot of character and desire,” PSG Manager Luis Enrique told Canal+.

“We showed what we wanted to do here. We conceded a goal but we remained intact in mentality.

We did everything to be better than Barca.”
PSG Manager Luis Enrique, who won the treble in charge of Barcelona in 2015, made three changes from the defeat in Paris.

Bringing in Barcola up front was crucial as the France winger was a constant menace to Barca’s defense, running up and down the left channel as PSG dominated from the start.

But Barcelona seemed comfortable to sit back and counter attack, with Raphinha giving them the lead in the 12th minute.

Teenager Lamine Yamal took a long pass in his stride before slicing past Nuno Mendes in the right channel and putting the ball on a plate for the Brazilian to score the opener.


Barca then wasted a chance to extend their lead when Robert Lewandowski missed from close range and were down to 10 men just before the half-hour after last man Ronald Araujo was shown a red card for a foul on Barcola just outside the penalty area.

The Uruguay defender and his Barca team mates argued with the referee, saying it was a shoulder charge and Pau Cubarsi was close by and ready to challenge Barcola, but it was in vain and Araujo eventually made his way off the field.

Former Barcelona forward Ousmane Dembele put the resulting free kick just wide but did not miss the target nine minutes later, firing home for the visitors in the 40th to equalize on the night from another great play by Barcola.

PSG were back on top in the second half and piled on the pressure until Vitinha finally managed to put the visitors in front on the night after 54 minutes.

Dembele played a short corner to Achraf Hakimi, who rolled a pass to Vitinha just outside the area and the Portuguese midfielder had all the time in the world to slot a shot just inside Marc Andre ter Stegen’s right-hand post.

PSG kept up the pressure and in the 61st minute Barca full back Joao Cancelo made a reckless sliding tackle to take down Dembele and concede a penalty that Mbappe fired into the top corner to make it 3-1 as PSG moved ahead in the tie.

As Barca tried to find a goal to take the game to extra time, France striker Mbappe made the most of a counter attack to score from close-range and wrap up a semi-final place.

“Everyone believed in it. We didn’t give up,” Dembele told Canal+. “We knew we were going to score goals. It was great work from the whole team.

The coach’s tactics were perfect. We made a great effort after conceding the first goal.

“Qualifying for the semi-final is a big thing. We’re crossing our fingers to make it to the final. We’ll have to recover well.”