Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) buried the past and avenged their embarrassing 2017 UEFA Champions League defeat to Barcelona by beating the Catalans 5-2 on aggregate in the 2020-21 UEFA Champions League Round of 16.

Last season’s Champions League finalists, PSG, made easy work of Barcelona to secure their spot in the quarterfinals of Europe’s top club competition.

4 years ago, Barcelona completed a stunning comeback to overturn a 4-0 first leg deficit by winning 6-1 in the Round of 16 against the Parisians but Kylian Mbappe and PSG made sure that there was no sort of miracle once again as they drew 1-1 in the 2nd leg at Barcelona’s Camp Nou this time.

PSG comfortably won the first leg 4-1 after Kylian Mbappe inspired the team by scoring a hattrick. We somewhat saw the passing of the baton in this game as Kylian Mbappe opened the scoring from the penalty spot before Lionel Messi equalised with a stunning long-range effort.


Kylian Mbappe: The new era of football is here (Photo by FRANCK FIFE/AFP via Getty Images)

Messi did, however, miss a penalty just before halftime and that could have been the telling moment in the game to inspire any sort of comeback for the home side but a repeat was not to be.

Barcelona’s exit meant that this was the first time since 2005 that neither Cristiano Ronaldo nor Lionel Messi will be in the quarterfinals of the Champions League, officially bringing an end to the era.

“We suffered a lot in the first half, and psychologically it was a test for us”, said PSG head coach Mauricio Pochettino.

“I gathered that the past was something that was talked about a lot here. We were better in the second half. We were more competitive.”

Barcelona legend and now, manager of Barcelona, Ronald Koeman tried to stay upbeat saying, “We are departing the Champions League in a very different manner from the way we did last season. In this game, we hit our level and that’s the road we have to follow,” referring to the improvement from last season after Barca were destroyed 8-2 on aggregate by European champions Bayern Munich.

PSG played without Neymar and looked far from the levels they were at that made them reach the final in last season’s tournament. However, they did enough at the back to secure their spot among the best 8 in Europe with the draw in Spain.

Barcelona were the better side in the first half by far with Ousmane Dembele having 2 chances to give the Catalans an early lead but failed to convert as Argentinian goalkeeper Keylor Navas pulled off a couple of good saves inside the first 20 minutes.

Sergino Dest came close to scoring as well for Barca only to be denied by Navas again who was stellar on the night.

Against the run of play, PSG were awarded a penalty by the VAR as Clement Lenglet appeared to step on Mauro Icardi’s heel, which Kylian Mbappe made no mistake from in the 31st minute to put PSG up 1-0 and 5-1 on aggregate.

Barca fought back soon after as Lionel Messi scored a stunner from 25 yards out that flew into the top corner to bringing the hosts back on level terms but down 5-2 on aggregate. This was Messi’s 120th Champions League goal.

Just before halftime, Barcelona had a chance to really change the complexion of the match as Laywin Kurzawa fouled Frenchman Antoine Griezmann in the penalty area.

Messi stepped up to take it but it was saved by a sublime Navas in PSG’s goal who managed to deflect his countryman’s shot onto the crossbar and out to keep the scores level.

Had that gone in, Barcelona would have really had the belief to pull off another comeback but it was not to be.

PSG defended deep and defended well to hold on to the draw and progress to the quarterfinals where they join Borussia Dortmund, Liverpool and FC Porto so far.

Barcelona on the other hand, only have the league to play for as they sit in 2nd, 6 points behind leaders Atletico Madrid in Spain’s La Liga.