In Review

PSG run riot as the sky falls in for dismal Barcelona

No team in Champions League history has recovered from the kind of beating the Spanish giants endured in Paris

Paris Saint-Germain 4 Barcelona 0

Angel di Maria delighted Paris and brought Barcelona's world crashing down around their ears as he scored twice in a stunning 4-0 victory over the Spanish giants in the first leg of the Champions League last 16 clash.

The last time Barcelona failed to reach the quarter-final of Europe's showpiece competition was ten years ago, but if they're to pull off a remarkable comeback in the second leg on 8 March they'll have to make history - for no side has overturned a four-goal first-leg deficit in the Champions League.

Can they do it? Only if they improve 100 per cent from the rabble that ran out on to the Parc des Princes.

Rarely has there been a match in which Neymar, Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez have been as ineffective and insipid as they were against the French champions. Indeed, it wasn't until 84 minutes that they threatened the PSG goal, Samuel Umtiti heading on to the post as the hosts began to ease up having pulled off a result beyond their wildest dreams.

The fantasy football began on 18 minutes when Di Maria curled in a free-kick, and five minutes before the break the impressive Julian Draxler doubled PSG's advantage with a low angled drive.

If the travelling support hoped to see a new-look Barcelona in the second-half they were sorely disappointed, the visitors as lacklustre after the interval as before, and on 55 minutes Di Maria made it 3-0 with a sweet strike into the top corner.

Edinson Cavani scored the fourth of the night on 71 minutes to leave Barcelona on the brink of elimination from a tournament that they have dominated for the past decade, winning four titles since 2006.

"It was a disastrous night for us, we were clearly inferior," said their coach, Luis Enrique said. "I'm responsible for this." Asked if he thought it would be possible to rise from the dead in the second leg, he said: "It's extremely difficult for us now but we go back to our stadium and really we need a heroic performance. But why not dream?"

Few of the Barcelona players were in the mood to discuss their disastrous display, although Sergio Busquets did offer a brief but honest assessment of their evening: "They were better than us. They played better, they were better tactically, they out-did us physically," he said.

For PSG, their toughest challenge between now and next month when they travel to the Camp Nou will be keeping their feet on their ground.

"We played a great game individually and collectively, with tremendous backing from the fans," said coach Unai Emery. "But I still have a lot of respect for Barca and 90 minutes is long. We must keep our concentration for the return match."

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