Champions League

Champions League top three: Mbappe tears Barcelona apart

The World Cup winner was in devastating form as PSG put themselves in a great position to qualify for the last eight

 
10:04am on Thursday 18th February 2021
By
Martin Macdonald

PSG superstar Kylian Mbappe enjoyed one of the best European performances of his career so far as he put Barcelona to the sword in the first leg of the Champions League last 16 tie between the French champions and the Blaugrana.

Europe's premier club competition returned this week for the first round of the knockout matches, with PSG facing Barcelona, Liverpool taking on RB Leipzig, Juventus travelling to Porto, and Sevilla hosting Dortmund.

TOP THREE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE PERFORMERS

Kylian Mbappé
F (C), W (L) - PSG - 22 yrs
MAN OF THE MATCH
90'
10
Feb 16, 2021
90Minutes played
3Goals
6Total shots
4Shots on target
3Crosses
17Final third passes
9Dribbles
12Duels won

Ahead of the match between Barcelona and PSG, most of the spotlight was on Lionel Messi and his potential transfer between the clubs this summer, while Neymar took plenty of headlines due to his injury which would rule him out of the game.

Mbappe seemed to take umbrage with not being in the spotlight, and took it upon himself to tear Barcelona to shreds, scoring a sublime hat-trick in a 4-1 away win to put the Ligue 1 outfit in a superb position to qualify for the quarter-finals.

After Messi had given Barca the lead from the penalty spot, Mbappe equalised just after the half-hour mark, showing remarkably quick feet inside the box to side-step Clement Lenglet before flashing a finish home.

His second was more simple, firing into the back of the net after a save from Marc-Andre ter Stegen was put back into the danger area.

The goal of the night would come five minutes from time from Mbappe, as he stepped on to a lay off from Julian Draxler to curl a gorgeous strike into the top right corner.

The World Cup winner terrorised the Barcelona defence all night, winning 12/15 duels. Sergino Dest, in particular, was left for dead on numerous occasions down his right wing, and was eventually subbed.

He had 54 touches of the ball, and completed nine dribbles which was four more than anyone else managed in the Champions League games this week.

Erling Haaland
S (C) - Dortmund - 20 yrs
MAN OF THE MATCH
90'
9.3
Feb 17, 2021
90Minutes played
2Goals
1Assists
3Total shots
3Shots on target
10Final third passes
4Touches in box
2Duels won

Where would Dortmund be without Erling Haaland?

The Norwegian striker once again proved to be their talisman this week as he played a part in all three goals as the Bundesliga side earned a 3-2 away win at Sevilla.

After Sevilla had taken the lead, Dortmund equalised 12 minutes later through a superb effort from Mahmoud Dahous, with Haaland proving the provider with a lay off into his path.

Then, it became all about him for the visitors.

His first goal displayed quite outstanding striker play, as he exchanged a neat one-two with Jadon Sancho to bulldoze his way into the penalty area before bravely jumping into a confrontation with the oncoming keeper to score.

Haaland's second was about brain as well as brawn, as he latched on to a pass into the channel inside the box from Marco Reus to open up his left foot and caress a finish into the bottom left corner.

He played 10 passes into the final third, and only actually had four touches inside the opposite box, two of which were goals. Imagine if he got more of the ball?

Even his mere presence up top for Dortmund caused the Sevilla defenders to make mistakes.

Marco Verratti
M, DM (C) - PSG - 28 yrs
73'
8.0
Feb 16, 2021
73Minutes played
1Assists
1Total shots
3Fouls
14Final third passes
7Duels won
4Ball recovered
90Successfull passes %

While Mbappe will deservedly steal the headlines for PSG, Marco Verratti's performance shouldn't go unnoticed as he was excellent in the middle of midfield for the away side at the Camp Nou.

For PSG's equaliser in the first half, it was his beautiful ball with the outside of his right foot into the box for Mbappe which set the goal up.

The Italian completed 57/63 passes, 14 of which were sent into the final third, and had 79 touches of the ball.

Verratti battled away in midfield, winning 100% of his tackles, and 7/14 duels, while also making four ball recoveries.

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