Barcelona stun PSG in first leg of Champions League quarterfinal

The Catalan side overcame a second half surge to beat PSG 3-2 at the Parc des Princes
Paris Saint-Germain v FC Barcelona: Quarter-final First Leg - UEFA Champions League 2023/24
Paris Saint-Germain v FC Barcelona: Quarter-final First Leg - UEFA Champions League 2023/24 / Christian Liewig - Corbis/GettyImages

You'd be hard pressed to find many people who gave Barcelona a chance heading into the first leg of their Champions League quarterfinal clash against PSG.

Given how the season for both teams has played out, it would be perfectly reasonable to assume Barcelona wouldn't get a positive result in Paris.

But that's exactly what the Catalan side did as Barcelona pulled off a 3-2 win over PSG and take an advantage ahead of the second leg at the Montjuic.

Barcelona took the lead in the 37th minute courtesy of Raphinha. But it was 17-year-old Pau Cubarsi who picked out a pass to Robert Lewandowski who, with a simple turn, had acres of space before finding Lamine Yamal. The 16-year-old then poked a dangerous cross that Gianluigi Donnarumma

couldn't reach. It made it's way towards Raphinha who did not miss.

Barcelona played a near perfect first half and probably headed into the break believing they should have been up my more than one goal.

But Luis Enrique adjusted his side following the break and it quickly paid off. In a matter of two minutes Ousmane Dembele and Vitinha scored to turn the game completely around and give PSG the lead.

Unlike previous instances, Barcelona didn't panic seeing themselves down in the score. Xavi made some substitution of his own, bringing on Joao Felix and Pedri for Lamine Yamal and Sergi Roberto. His changes paid off in the 62nd minute as Pedri delivered a brillian pass to Raphinha who volleyed the ball from inside the box to bring the game level.

Another one of Xavi's substitutes paid off in the 77th as Andreas Christensen scored with his first touch of the game. Christensen connected with a header off a corner to give Barcelona their second lead of the night.

The Catalans were able to hold and picked up an important win ahead of the second leg. It was a statement win in that not only did they compete against one of Europe's best, but did so after going down in the scoreline.

"Today we played well because we were united defensively," Xavi said after the game. "I'm very proud, everything worked well. We have to improve our concentration in the first mintues of the second half. We managed to mature and recover from a match that became very difficult."

Despite the one-goal advantage, Xavi still considers PSG the favorite.

Barcelona will need to replicate their performance but also improve on those lapses in concentration. PSG possess a wealth of attacking talent and it was on display during the opening minutes of the second half. It only took two minutes for PSG to take the lead.

The unfortunate news for Xavi is both Sergi Roberto and Christensen picked up yellow cards, meaning they are suspended and won't be available for the second leg. The question now becomes whether Xavi opts to start Pedri or take it easy with him and opt for Fermin Lopez instead.


That question will be answered April 16 when the two sides face off at Montjuic with a spot in the Champions League semifinal up for grabs.