Kylian Mbappe met with Lionel Messi at the Nou Camp on Tuesday, February 16, and the Frenchman led Paris Saint Germain to demolish FC Barcelona 1-4 at home under the nose of the 6-time Ballon d’Or winner.
Even though coach Mauricio Pochettino took PSG to Spain without the club’s talisman Neymar and the club’s veteran midfielder Angel Di Maria due to injuries, Mbappe proved to be enough for PSG against Barcelona.
At the start of the UEFA Champions League round-of-16 game, FC Barcelona looked like a team that would not allow their visitors to score a goal. They stamped their authority in the game very early through a spot-kick taken by Lionel Messi in the 27th minute of the first half.
After Messi’s goal from the spot-kick, the rest of the game became Kylian Mbappe’s show. The 22-year-old center-forward announced himself in the match in a couple of moments but he first stamped his authority in the 32nd minute with an equalizing goal.
From there, the hosts could not do much other than to try to limit the firepower of in-form Kylian Mbappe. Barcelona’s goalkeeper Marc-Andre Ter Stegen became insufficient to stop the Frenchman after a series of saved attempts which stretched the 1-1 draw until the first 15 minutes of the second half.
Hence, Ter Stegen finally allowed the PSG’s talisman to score his second goal of the match in the 65th minute. Five minutes later, Moise Kean made it three goals for PSG.
When coach Ronald Koeman and his boys thought they have seen the best of Kylian Mbappe and his teammates, the Frenchman scored one of the finest goals of the match in the 85th minute to claim the match ball.
With the three goals Mbappe scored at Nou Camp on Tuesday, he has become the first player to score a hat-trick against Barcelona at the stadium since 1997. The last two players to achieve such a feat were Faustino Asprilla for Newcastle and Andriy Shevchenko for Dynamo Kyiv.
More so, Mbappe has now become the first player to score a hat-trick against a Spanish club in the knockout phase of the Champions League.
After his three goals against Barcelona, Kylian Mbappe became PSG’s third all-time highest goalscorer with 110 goals at 22-year-old. Only Edinson Cavani (200) and Zlatan Ibrahimovic (156) have scored more goals than Mbappe for PSG in all competitions.
“Before the match, he asked me how many times I had won at Camp Nou,” Pochettino said in his post-game press conference. “Once,’ I told him. He replied to me: ‘Tomorrow, we are going to win a second time.’
“He is a top player. Great footballers write their history. They evolve match after match. With this hat-trick, Kylian will be in the spotlight but we had no doubts.
“He’s world-class. No one can discover Mbappe tonight. He’s a fantastic player and he’s very happy in our club. He said it, I said it too.”
Watch how Kylian Mbappe outshined Messi below:
With the 1-4 win over Barcelona, the Spanish giants are left with only one choice which is to produce the kind of comeback they produced against PSG four years ago. Recall that then, PSG won Barcelona 4-0 in the first half, the Spanish club turned the tie around at Nou Camp by winning 6-1 in the second leg to knock out the French club.
The second leg of the 2020-2021 UEFA Champions League round 16 between Barcelona and PSG will take place at PSG’s Parc des Princes on March 10, 2021. Barcelona need to score 5 goals against PSG to scale through to the next round of the competition.