Suarez sinks teeth into PSG as Barcelona head for semis
The Spanish side inflict a first home defeat on PSG this season to move within sight of last four
Paris Saint-Germain 1 Barcelona 3. Two goals from the brilliant Luis Suarez inflicted a first home defeat of the season on French champions PSG and left Barcelona poised to progress to the semi-finals of the Champions League for the seventh time in eight years.
The sides meet again in the second leg at the Camp Nou next Tuesday, but on the evidence of what unfolded in the Parc des Princes last night the French side will need to produce something special to prevent the Catalans advancing.
It was the first time PSG have lost in Paris this season and the result was largely down to the brilliance of Suarez. "I prefer the win than talking about my goals," the Uruguayan said later. "We know it was an important game today and it's a good result but in football you never know what can happen and we have 90 minutes more next week."
Suarez, who has now scored 17 goals for Barcelona since his four-month biting ban expired in October, and 13 in his last 15 outings, added that he and his teammates knew they would "need concentration" in Paris. The visitors were focused all right, dominating from the start against a tentative PSG, who were no doubt pining for their suspended strikers Zlatan Ibrahimovic. His absence clearly affected the hosts' confidence and PSG were lucky not to go one down early on when Suarez's deft chip from the edge of the box allowed Lionel Messi the opportunity to curl a shot against the post.
On 19 minutes Messi turned provider and his beautifully weighted pass to Neymar was driven into the bottom corner by the young Brazilian. Suarez made it 2-0 on 67 minutes with a moment of magic as the South American nutmegged David Luiz, evaded two more PSG tackles and fired the ball past Salvatore Sirigu. Twelve minutes later Suarez was mesmerizing Paris once more, playing a neat one-two with Jeremy Mathieu, playing it through the legs of Luiz once more, and unleashing a rasping shot into the top corner to make it 3-0. "I had to nutmeg Luiz twice because there was nothing else I could do," said Suarez.
Paris, unbeaten at home in Europe for 34 matches, were playing for pride in the final minutes and they grabbed a goal back when Gregory Van der Wiel's hit-and-hope of a shot took a glancing blow off the outstretched leg of substitute Mathieu and ballooned into the Barcelona goal.
That will be a small comfort for PSG ahead of next week's trip to Barcelona and the Spanish side will be assured of qualification for the last four if they show anywhere near the same diligence in the second leg. "We played intelligently, and worked hard," reflected Suarez. "When you play against an opponent like them you have to play with intensity to get the win."
Asked for his own assessment of the victory, Barcelona coach Luis Enrique said: "There are lots of ways you can describe our play. We were attentive, had possession and were good in defence. We made a lot of chances and were solid. We need to look to win the return match and avoid surprises."
The night's other semi-final ended in a similar scoreline although it was the hosts, Porto, who shocked Bayern Munich and scored three goals to the one managed by the Germans. It was a sloppy display by the 2013 champions, who found themselves 2-0 down after just ten minutes with Ricardo Quaresma scoring both goals. Thiago Alcantara pulled one back for the Germans on the half-hour mark but the final word went to Jackson Martinez, when he made it 3-1 in the second-half. "We always want to build from the back and this style can be dangerous," said Bayern captain Philipp Lahm. "We were looking good when we pulled a goal back, but when Porto made it 3-1, that really hurt us. Nevertheless, there is everything to play for in the second leg."