Barcelona hoped to produce another comeback for the ages against PSG.
PSG advanced on aggregate. After a thrilling first half, Barca could just not find a way through in the second half, but even if they had scored, they would have needed to repeat it another two times without conceding even to force extra-time.
As it is, Messi’s penalty miss on the stroke of half-time probably signalled the end of Barca’s comeback hopes.
Yet they were denied by their failure to take chances and by Mbappe’s landmark first-half goal.
Mbappe, only 22, became the youngest player in history to score 25 Champions League goals when he converted a penalty after half an hour. That gave PSG the lead and appeared to settled the tie.
But a rocket from Messi — from whom Mbappe had just taken the record — six minutes later restored the edge to the game.
And had Messi not had a penalty saved by Keylor Navas in first-half injury time Ronald Koeman’s team would have backed themselves to imitate the miracle of 2017 — when they overturned a 4-0 away loss to disassemble the French team 6-1 in the Nou Camp.
As it was, PSG saw this one through. Mauricio Pochettino’s team were not persuading and didn’t seem to know how to approach the game. They don’t look like potential winners of the competition.
But with Mbappe in their team, they will always have an opportunity. He has now played a part in the scoring of 40 goals in his last 41 Champions League games.
Barcelona’s were desperate but there was nothing frenetic about their football. In the first half, they were logical and precise in their intent.
Had they been clinical in front of goal, it is no magnification to say they could have been level on aggregate by half-time.
So, there will be no Barca in the last eight, but last year’s runners up are through and, with a bit of luck for Pochettino, Neymar will be fit by the time those games roll around.