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Messi Hits 30-Yard Screamer, Misses 12-Yard Penalty As Barça Crashes Out To PSG

Was this Messi’s final UCL match with Barcelona? No one knows but La Pulga.

Despite controlling 73 percent possession and attempting 21 shots compared to just seven for PSG, Barcelona could only manage one goal at the Parc des Princes on Wednesday — which was canceled out by a controversial Kylian Mbappé penalty in a 1-1 draw — to crash out of the Champions League at the Round of 16 stage, 5-2 on aggregate. 

Barcelona dominated the opening period with Ousmane Dembélé working diligently on a shot chart that looked like a Jackson Pollock painting. It wasn’t exactly “La Remontada” with all 10 PSG outfield players stuffed inside their own area, but there was a sense that the fragile specter of Adrien Rabiot was haunting the bodies of Layvin Kurzawa, Leandro Paredes and Marco Verratti. 

Sergiño Dest went closest to opening the scoring in the 23rd minute, but Keylor Navas tipped his angled drive onto the crossbar (Navas’ best friend on the day). 

But just as Barça’s belief swelled, a questionable call (read: shitty, no-one-wants-to-see-this use of the VAR system) allowed PSG to make it 5-1 on aggregate from the spot in the 30th minute.  

The way Mbappé locked, loaded and unfurled that penalty was pure violence, and it was an eerily similar technique to what Lionel Messi unleashed just seven minutes later — the only difference being that Messi’s effort was from more than twice the distance.

Oooooof. I can feel it down in my plums.    

Mission Impossible was back on the menu, and things could’ve gotten really lively heading into the second half after Barcelona earned a penalty of its own in stoppage time.

However, what Messi could do from 30 yards he failed to replicate from 12. Messi struck it low and to Keylor Navas’ right, but the Costa Rican got his leg behind it and breathed a sigh of relief after it ballooned off the crossbar and away from danger.

Messi had another opportunity on the hour mark when Jordi Alba picked him out on the edge of the goal area, but Marquinhos provided the last-ditch block. 

Barcelona can take faith from limiting Mbappé and PSG to very little at the Parc des Princes and they can be somewhat upset with the performance of referee Anthony Taylor, but that doesn’t change what happened in the first leg of this tie. They got supremely worked over at the Camp Nou. 

But the Blaugrana still has a Copa del Rey final to contest, and Atlético Madrid is just six points ahead in LaLiga with 12 games to play. You can question if this was Messi’s final Champions League match with Barça, but the recent election of Joan Laporta and success in one of those competitions could certainly change his mind. 

PSG advances to the quarterfinal stage again with the draw set to take place on March 19. Neymar, who missed both these games with a thigh injury, has returned to light training and should be available by that time.   

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