Paris St-Germain condemned Barcelona to a 4-0 hammering in Paris on Tuesday night in what was one of Barca’s worst Champions League performances in recent memory.
Edinson Cavani sealed victory following two long-range efforts by man-of-the-match Angel Di Maria either side of an angled drive from Julian Draxler late in the first half. As Cavani fired in the final goal of the match, the PSG boss, Unai Emery, celebrated frantically, almost in disbelief.
Alongside Di Maria’s heroics, Draxler was excellent throughout. At only 23-years-old, he looks like a shrewd acquisition, and will no doubt continue to take some of the burden of goal scoring duties off Cavani’s shoulders.
PSG were dominant in every department – the statistics all point towards the most convincing and thus embarrassing defeats of Luis Enrique’s reign. Barcelona clocked only one shot on target to PSG’s ten – the joint-highest Barca have faced in a Champions League match since 2003. Perhaps worst of all, their star asset, Messi, the ‘Mozart of football’, failed to have a single touch of the ball in the opposition box during the entire match.
Aside from the clinical brilliance of PSG, this was a lacklustre, lethargic and worringly out-of-sorts Barcelona. What shouldn’t be overlooked though is the efficiency with which PSG exploited their opponents’ weaknesses. While their dominance in Ligue 1 has become almost tediously predictable, this was a statement from PSG – further demonstration of their continued improvement across the European landscape.
Despite the crushing nature of this defeat, it seems absurd that Luis Enrique is now apparently fighting for his job, having delivered eight trophies in the last two seasons. At the time of writing though, Real Madrid sit at the top of La Liga with two games in hand. Before this match, the Champions League was Enrique’s most likely chance of silverware. All of Enrique’s achievements to date may just have been undone by one night in Paris.
In three weeks’ time, Enrique’s side need to make history yet again in what will be a fascinating encounter. Barcelona have to overturn a four-goal first-leg deficit, a feat which no side has ever managed in the history of the Champions League. If any team can manage it, this Barcelona team can. No pressure, Luis.
Chris Henderson – follow me on Twitter here