Kylian Mbappe scored a hat-trick as Paris Saint-Germain won 4-1 at Camp Nou as they deliver a strong aggregate lead in their Champions League last-16 tie.
Lionel Messi opened the scoring from the penalty spot but Mbappe hooked onto Marco Verratti’s delightful dink to pull the visitors level in the first half.
‘The French star was in the right place at the right time to finish a loose ball in the second half, before on-loan Everton man Moise Kean continued his fine season by heading in a free-kick to extend PSG’s lead.
Mbappe finished a fast counter-attack to extend the lead in the closing stages and give Mauricio Pochettino a vibrant victory in his first Champions League match as PSG boss.
Barcelona had delivered little in return in the first 10 minutes save a run down the left from Jordi Alba on to a good pass from Antoine Griezmann.
It was the Frenchman who had Barcelona’s first opportunity. Keylor Navas saved his shot after he’d run on to Pedri’s pass.
Pedri then saved Barcelona at the other end in PSG’s next attack. He gave the ball way but when Mbappe broke to tee-up Mauro Icardi Pedri rushed back to clear.
Contrary to the run of play, Barcelona went ahead on 27 minutes when Messi beat Keylor Navas from the penalty spot after Layvin Kurzawa had caught Frenkie de Jong’s heels in the area.
Referee Bjorn Kuipers pointed the spot but replays cast doubts and video-assisted referee Pol van Boekel had to confirm the decision. Messi hit the kick into the roof of the net.
It was his 28th goal in last-16 Champions League games and his eighth against former Madrid keeper Navas, the Neymar tweet condemning the decision arrived almost immediately.
He needn’t have worried the decision would not affect the game.
Mbappe responded within five minutes on the pitch. Marco Verratti played the ball to him on the edge of the six-yard box. He sidestepped the pedestrian Lenglet and scored past Ter Stegen.
Barcelona was shaky now. Mbappe forced another Ter Stegen to save and Kean was also denied by the German keeper.
Barcelona could have signed Mbappe when Neymar left them in 2017. They choose Ousmane Dembele instead. There was no comparison in the first half.
The former had threatened Barcelona’s defence, Dembele had missed a sitter teed-up by Messi after Barcelona’s opening goal and failed to support right-back Sergino Dest who had battled throughout.
Mbappe started the second half as he had finished the first with a shot just wide of Ter Stegen’s goal. He then got away from Pique, despite Pique pulling his shirt, and discharged Icardi who set up Kean whose shot was saved by Ter Stegen.
Then he bent away from three players, Messi included, this was turning into an event.
Messi reacted by winning a free-kick on the edge of the area but his curling shot hit the top of the wall and went over Navas’ bar.
He was growing increasingly frustrated with Dembele who chose a tame shot on goal over a cross into the area.
Mbappe got the second on 65 minutes. Alessandro Florenzi crossed from the right, for once Ter Stegen miscalculates the situation, and Pique’s half clearance fell over to Mbappe who scored.
Barcelona’s defensive weaknesses were now being exposed and Kean was unmarked when he headed in the third from a free-kick with 20 minutes left.
Mbappe still wanted his hat-trick and he duly completed it in 84 minutes. He was all alone when Draxler played him and he crushes Ter Stegen to make it 4-1.
Mbappe left with the match ball and Barcelona with a sense of no longer belonging at European football’s top table.