Three things we learned from Barcelona’s 3-1 defeat of Paris Saint-Germain
The Blaugrana claimed first place in Group F in a come from behind win over PSG.
Barcelona needed to win on Wednesday to claim the top spot in Group F and they did just that, defeating Paris Saint-Germain 3-1 at the Camp Nou. Zlatan Ibrahimović put the Parisians ahead early but Barca’s three-headed monster of Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suárez each scored as the Blaugrana came from behind with three unanswered goals.
Despite plenty of early possession and pressure from Barcelona, it was PSG who jumped out front in the 15th minute. Lucas’ pass to Blaise Matiudi allowed the midfielder to one touch the ball back to Zlatan Ibrahimović who was inexplicably allowed a massive amount of space inside the area. The former Barca striker buried his shot through traffic and past Marc-Andre ter Stegen, putting the Parisians up 1-0.
Lionel Messi wasn’t about to let Zlatan’s goal go unanswered though and it took just four minutes for the response to come.
Luis Suárez may have been shooting as he ran hard in towards the far post, but whether that was intent or not, the ball bounced past Salvatore Sirigu to Messi who tapped the ball into the empty net at the near post, evening the score at 1-1 after just 20 minutes.
In the 41st minute Neymar picked up the ball in the midfield and dribbled forward towards the PSG box. Despite the fact that five white shirts tried to close down on him they weren’t quick enough, and the Brazilian curled a shot through the defense and past Sirigu to put Barca ahead 2-1 at the halftime break.
PSG had the better chances in the second half but Barca’s defense, including
King Arthur “Sir” Gerard Piqué, was able to do enough to keep them off the scoreboard, despite some nervy moments. There were times that the Blaugrana back line was simply left with no option but to desperately swat the ball away, but it did the job and kept them in the lead.
Luis Suárez put the match away for Barca in the 77th minute, cleaning up a big rebound left by Sirigu. Messi and Neymar’s one-two play set-up the initial chance as Neymar threaded a ball under the feat of a defender, forcing the PSG goalkeeper to make a quick save. Sirigu couldn’t control the rebound though, and it went right to Suárez who was happy to direct the ball into the net.
Barcelona: ter Stegen, Mathieu, Mascherano, Piqué, Bartra (Adriano 92′), Pedro (Rakitić 67′), Busquets, Iniesta (Xavi 73′), Neymar, Messi, Suárez
Goals: Messi (19′), Neymar (41′), Suarez (77′)
PSG: Sirigu, Maxwell, David Luiz, Silva, van der Wiel, Matuidi (Lavezzi 75), Motta, Verrati (Pastore 62′), Cavani, Ibrahimović, Lucas
Goals: Ibramhimović (15′)
1. Barca’s defense good enough, but still vulnerable – Despite the fact that Luis Enrique had four central defenders on the pitch (though two were not playing at that position), the defense was still rickety at times, though ultimately effective. They dealt with PSG’s speed far better than they did in the first match, and defended set pieces far better as well. Still, the marking on Zlatan’s goal was atrocious and one wonders how that many defenders could lose track of a player like Zlatan.
2. Luis Súarez is still getting comfortable? – The summer signing missed the first part of the season due to suspension but he’s quickly become an important part of the Barca attack. The things that he is able to do in conjunction with Neymar and Messi is scary, but there’s something even more frightening … he says he’s still learning to play with them. He had a goal and assist in this match and he’s still got more to learn? Yikes.
3. Marc-Andre ter Stegen is Barca’s top goalkeeper – Claudio Bravo remains the starter in La Liga but that probably has more to do with his familiarity with the league than anything else. Ter Stegen is better overall, puts himself in better positions and is faster. One suspects that Luis Enrique didn’t want to put too much pressure on the young keepers shoulders too fast, but it’s only a matter of time before he’s the main man in goal.