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Mbappes PSG punish 10-man Barca to reach Champions League semis

Published : Thursday, 18 April, 2024 at 12:00 AM  Count : 257

Mbappes PSG punish 10-man Barca to reach Champions League semis

Mbappes PSG punish 10-man Barca to reach Champions League semis

BARCELONA, APRIL 17: Kylian Mbappe struck twice as Paris Saint-Germain battled back to beat 10-man Barcelona 4-1 and book a place in the Champions League semi-finals with a 6-4 aggregate triumph on Tuesday.

Raphinha fired Barcelona ahead early on but Ronald Araujos 29th-minute red card turned the tide in PSGs favour, despite the Spanish champions leading by two goals following a 3-2 quarter-final first-leg win.

Ousmane Dembele and Vitinha levelled the tie for PSG and the deadly Mbappe hit a brace to put them into the final four for the first time since 2021, setting up another meeting with Borussia Dortmund, who they played twice in the group stage.

"Hats off to Kylian, look at how he pressed, thats how you lead a team," said PSG coach Luis Enrique, noting the strikers all-round contribution.

"When Kylian can give that we are much, much better."

The French champions have never won the trophy despite huge investment but demonstrated they have the attacking weapons in their squad to do so.

"I dream of winning the Champions League with Paris, its another step overcome against a great team," said Mbappe, who has his sights set on this years final.

"We e going to try and go to Wembley."

Luis Enrique, who led Barca to the 2015 Champions League, said he believed his PSG team would turn things around despite never having managed to after a first-leg home defeat, and so it proved.

"It looked bad but the team concentrated -- whatever happened, we had to beat Barcelona," said Dembele, whistled heavily by fans of his former club.

Five-time winners Barcelona were dreaming of a first semi-final return since 2019 but Araujos red card for pulling down the relentless Bradley Barcola undermined their grip on the tie.

It became another in a series of European nightmares for the Catalans, who last won the trophy in 2015, with Xavi blaming the referee.

"With 11 against 10 its practically impossible," said the coach.

"I think the red card is not necessary, its unfair and needless."

The visitors started with determination and penned Barcelona back in their own territory, but it was the hosts who took the lead.

Explosive 16-year-old starlet Lamine Yamal ripped past Nuno Mendes and crossed to the near post where Raphinha turned home his third goal in the tie.

The other PSG forwards found the net but it was Barcola who tilted the match in PSGs favour.

The winger teed up Mbappe but Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen denied him well, before Araujo was sent off for bringing him down.

The Uruguayan centre-back pulled Barcola back as he burst into the area, leaving Barca with 10 men.

Dembele struck after 40 minutes from another Barcola cross, which raked across the area to the back post where he was arriving to fire into the roof of the net.

Barcelona sacrificed Yamal for defender Inigo Martinez after Araujos red card and it left them with few outlets in attack.  
With PSG controlling the game Barcelona soon paid the price.

Vitinha was given far too much space on the edge of the box and he drilled into the bottom corner to put PSG ahead on the night.

Ilkay Gundogan hit the post at the other end for Barcelona before their coach Xavi was sent off for a show of dissent on the touchline.

"Since Ive been here we e not getting any refereeing decisions, theyve all been bad for us," added Xavi. "The refereeing was very strange."

Despite the finger-pointing the Catalans were losing their heads and Joao Cancelo clumsily fouled Dembele to hand PSG a penalty.

Mbappe, who had been kept quiet in the first leg, hammered it into the top corner for his 40th goal across all competitions.

The strikers future may lie in Spain, with Real Madrid aiming to sign him in the summer at the end of his contract, and he made no friends in Barcelona by hopping the advertising hoardings and running towards fans to celebrate.    —AFP







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