For years, Paris Saint-Germain has fallen short against Europe’s top dogs. The French club certainly didn’t fall short on Tuesday.
Unai Emery’s side took a huge first step towards booking their place in the quarterfinals after a convincing 4-0 win over visiting Barcelona at the Parc des Princes. A quick start by PSG saw efforts by Blaise Matuidi and Adrien Rabiot saved by Marc-Andre ter Stegen. Angel Di Maria opened the scoring for the hosts after 18 minutes, curling home a beautiful left-footed free kick. Julian Draxler made it 2-0 in the 40th minute after he rifled home a shot past ter Stegen.
Di Maria continued PSG’s dominance in the 55th minute as he again roofed a left-footed effort past ter Stegen for a 3-0 PSG lead. Striker Edinson Cavani added an insurance goal in the 71st minute, as he blasted home his sixth goal of the competition.
Barcelona defender Samuel Umtiti headed off the post six minutes from time, which was the visitors best chance of the match. Despite its 57% possession, Barcelona were out-played on Tuesday, while only creating one true effort on goal. Tuesday’s defeat also marked the Catalan side’s heaviest away defeat in the competition, dating back to 2013.
The Spanish side will host PSG at the Camp Nou on March 8th, needing a miraculous turnaround to avoid being eliminated in the Round of 16.
BENFICA EDGES DORTMUND
Borussia Dortmund created plenty of chances on Tuesday afternoon, but it was one simple finish from Benfica that gave the Portuguese side an edge heading into the second leg.
Rui Vitoria’s Benfica side held on for a 1-0 first leg win at home, despite being let off the hook several times. Dortmund striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang had an early chance to put the visitors up after 10 minutes, but soared his effort over the bar. As the first-half rolled on, Aubameyang missed a chance for a tap-in after a deflected cross found its way to the striker.
The missed chances came back to haunt Thomas Tuchel’s side after Benfica took a 1-0 lead three minutes into the second half. Kostas Mitroglou tapped home his first goal of the competition following a corner-kick.
Aubameyang’s day got even worse as the striker saw his 58th-minute penalty kick saved by Benfica keeper Ederson. Even the introduction of substitutes Andre Schurrle and Christian Pulisic couldn’t get Dortmund level as Benfica held firm for a 1-0 win. Ederson made five saves, including the huge PK stop on Aubameyang for ‘man of the match’ honors.
Dortmund will host Benfica on March 8th at Signal Iduna Park, needing a multi-goal victory to secure a place in the quarterfinals.
The Round of 16 continues on Wednesday with Bayern Munich playing host to Arsenal (2:45 p.m. E.T, Fox Sports 1) and Real Madrid facing Napoli (2:45 p.m. Fox Sports 2).