Football PSG bury Champions League demons to advance with Liverpool

PSG bury Champions League demons to advance with Liverpool

Barcelona's Lionel Messi in action against PSG. Photo: Getty
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Paris Saint-Germain have buried the ghosts of their embarrassing 2017 Champions League exit to eliminate Barcelona in the round of 16 while Liverpool ease past RB Leipzig to advance to the quarter-finals.

PSG held on for a 1-1 home draw with wasteful Barcelona to complete a 5-2 aggregate victory.

In Budapest, Liverpool won 2-0 to seal an emphatic 4-0 aggregate success over Leipzig.

PSG and the Reds joined Borussia Dortmund and Porto in the last eight while holders Bayern Munich are among the sides hoping to progress next week.

It is the first time since 2005 that neither Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo, whose campaign with Juventus came to a halt on Tuesday, have reached the last eight of the competition.

Four years after Barca claimed a memorable 6-1 win to overturn a 4-0 first-leg deficit in the last 16, PSG lacked inspiration but their 4-1 advantage from the first game in Spain was sufficient this time.

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

“I gathered that the past was something that was talked about a lot here.”

Kylian Mbappe, who scored a hat-trick at the Nou Camp, opened the scoring with a penalty against the run of play on 31 minutes before Lionel Messi levelled with a superb long-range strike for his 120th goal in the competition.

However, the Argentine star had a spot kick saved by Keylor Navas on the stroke of halftime that all but ended Barca’s faint hopes of overturning their aggregate deficit.

The exit is Barca’s earliest in the competition since the 2006-07 campaign.

“We are departing this Champions League in a very different manner from the way we did last season,” Barca coach Ronald Koeman said, referring to their 8-2 aggregate defeat in the quarter-finals by Bayern Munich last year.

“In this game, we hit our level and that’s the road we have to follow.”

Liverpool put their domestic league issues aside with second-half goals from Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane securing victory over Leipzig.

Both legs of the last-16 tie were played at the Puskas Arena in the Hungarian capital due to Germany’s COVID-19 related travel restrictions.

While it was an unusual ‘home’ game for Liverpool they made the most of it after six successive defeats at Anfield.

“We had to switch off the Premier League stuff to get here and give it a proper try,” Klopp told broadcaster BT Sport.

“The boys really enjoyed themselves tonight, which is important.”

The closest last season’s surprise semi-finalists Leipzig came to scoring was when Alexander Sorloth headed against the crossbar in the 67th with the score still 0-0.

-AAP