Barcelona beat PSG 3-1 in CL quarterfinal
Lionel Messi set up Neymar’s opener and Luis Suarez scored twice to give Barcelona a 3- 1 victory against a struggling Paris SaintGermain on Wednesday that leaves the four-time champion with one foot in the Champions League semifinals.
After Neymar slotted home in the 18th minute, Suarez ducked and weaved through the Paris defense for his first goal in the 67th before ghosting past PSG defender David Luiz to score his second.
PSG pulled a goal back in the 82nd when Gregory van der Wiel’s long- range effort deflected off Barcelona’s Jeremy Mathieu.
Suspensions and injuries fatally weakened Paris in a demanding quarterfinal first leg match. In attack, missed chances and sloppy control from Edinson Cavani made the absence of suspended striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic keenly felt.
In the evening’s other match, Porto sprang a major surprise by beating Bayern Munich 3-1.
PSG’s first European home defeat in 34 games leaves it with a seemingly impossible task when it travels to Barcelona next week for the return leg.
Barcelona failed to make the semifinals last season but looks almost certain to this time after a performance on a balmy Paris night that exposed a gulf between the two sides.
With Marco Verratti suspended and Thiago Motta injured, Paris was forced to fall back on a makeshift midfield of Blaise Matuidi, Yohan Cabaye and Adrien Rabiot, who were playing together for the first time this season in the Champions League.
Paris quickly paid for Rabiot’s youthful inexperience. Just 17 minutes in, Sergio Busquets, playing his 63rd Champions League game, dispossessed the 20-year- old making just his second start this season in the competition.
Busquets found Messi with a looping pass and the four-time world player of the year set off at speed toward the backpedalling PSG defense, before cutting through it with a neat pass to Neymar.
The Brazil international made no mistake, with a right-footed shot past Salvatore Sirigu.
Paris squandered chances, with Cavani missing a sitter in the 28th minute.
After a Barcelona corner, Matuidi broke at pace down the left and fed Ezequiel Lavezzi. The zippy Argentine checked, throwing off his marker, and found Cavani in acres of space alone in the middle.
However, his goalscoring instincts deserted him, with poor control and hesitation allowing defender Javier Mascherano to slide in and stifle the danger.
PSG will be hoping that Ibrahimovic provides that missing bite in attack next week on his return from a one-match ban.
Barcelona’s Neymar, center, tries an overhead kick watched by teammate Lionel Messi, right, during the quarterfinal first leg Champions League soccer match between Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris on Wednesday, April 15.