NEWS
Tuesday February 16 2021
CL: Italians decisive as PSG crush Barca

The Italian flag was flying high in the Champions League, as Marco Verratti and Alessandro Florenzi provided assists during a Kylian Mbappé hat-trick, while Moise Kean scored in a 4-1 PSG win away to Barcelona.

There were three Italy internationals in the starting XI for Paris Saint-Germain, Florenzi, Kean and Verratti, but Neymar and Angel Di Maria were injured. Verratti was placed in a new trequartista role behind former Inter striker Mauro Icardi.

Mauro Icardi wasted an early opportunity and Verratti made a decisive sliding tackle in the box on Antoine Griezmann, but Barcelona did get a penalty when Layvin Kurzawa accidentally clipped Frenkie de Jong’s heel while running on to the Leo Messi pass, allowing La Pulga to convert.

Ousmane Dembele almost made it 2-0 moments later on another Messi pass, but like Icardi, he scuffed the weak finish.

Kylian Mbappé got the equaliser instead, dribbling past Clement Lenglet after a splendid flicked Verratti assist.

Griezmann drilled inches wide on the counter and Moise Kean forced two very tricky saves from Marc-Andre Ter Stegen in a wide open game.

The second PSG goal also had an Italian assist, this time Florenzi, who pulled it back from the right for Icardi, it was intercepted by Gerard Pique, but only as far as Mbappé to fire in.

Kean scored the third goal himself, shaking off defenders for a free header at the back post on the long Leandro Paredes free kick. It was the 20-year-old’s 14th goal in 25 competitive games since joining PSG on loan from Everton. This also made him the third youngest Italian to score in the Champions League knockouts.

Keylor Navas was fortunate that Griezmann didn’t make the most of his late howler and Florenzi made a big tackle on Francisco Trincao.

The fourth goal was the only one not to have an Italian involved, as PSG went on a rapid counter with Julian Draxler spreading it for Mbappé to complete his hat-trick with a first-time right-foot curler.

Barcelona 1-4 PSG

Messi pen 27 (B), Mbappé 32, 65, 85 (P), Kean 70 (P)

Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Dest (Mingueza 71), Piqué (Riqui Puig 78), Lenglet, Alba; Busquets (Pjanic 79), De Jong, Pedri (Trincao 79); Messi, Griezmann (Braithwaite 85), Dembélé

PSG: Navas; Florenzi (Kehrer 89), Marquinhos, Kimpembe, Kurzawa; Gueye (Ander Herrera 46), Paredes; Kean (Danilo 84), Verratti (Draxler 73), Mbappé; Icardi

Ref: Kuipers (NED)