A day after the epic game at Camp Nou, it is time to take a closer look at the game and analyze the reasons that helped Barcelona overturn a first-game 4-0 deficit to 6-5 on aggregate.
Psychology is the most important factor that affected the result of the game. Barcelona’s players were 100 per cent confident in their abilities to score at least five goals while PSG players lost the game mentally before it had started. Unai Emery, who had played 12 times against Barcelona before, did not find the words to motivate his team. Even his own decisions and reactions during the game seemed like he was not confident in his players. There is one moment, which illustrates his uncertainty. Fifteen minutes before the end of the game, he substituted a midfielder Julian Draxler for the fifth defender, Serge Aurier. By then, PSG finally scored an important away goal and organized the defense. Barcelona started to have problems in both attack and defense, and scoring three goals in 15 minutes seemed almost unreal, but Emery’s substitution changed everything. The fifth defender did not make PSG’s defense more reliable, he just confused other defenders. As a result, Barcelona scored three goals in 8 minutes, and the last final goal was scored after Serge Aurier allowed Sergio Roberto to get the ball behind his back.
PSG coach Unai Emery after Barcelona's sixth goal by Sergi Roberto pic.twitter.com/K4TpU7iiWw
— Mfon Abel Ekene (@mfonabel) March 8, 2017
Since the first minutes of the game, all PSG players were behind the ball line. They did not think about counter-attacks at all. Even the only PSG forward Edison Cavani was supposed to focus on defense, but it did not help PSG keep the gates safe. As a result, the series of mistakes made by defenders and a goalkeeper led to the first goal scored in the third minute.
Suarez goal v PSG pic.twitter.com/mCeMJQrOos
— ️ (@TheUCLZone) March 8, 2017
The same can be said about the second goal. In this moment, the defenders should not have had any problems against Iniesta, but the series of wrong decisions led to the own goal.
— NordicBet Sverige (@NordicBetSV) March 8, 2017
The fourth goal from a free-kick is Keven Trapp’s mistake. The goalkeeper opened the angle of his gates for Neymar who successfully sent the ball there.
Retweeted Terje (@TerjeAFCx):
— Vikram Waman Karve (@vikramwkarve) March 9, 2017
Despite all polemics about the penalties in this game, they would not have been appointed if the defenders had not lost their positions. Firstly, Thomas Meunier lost his balance and fell down between Neymar and the ball. Then, Marquinhos lost the position to Luiz Suarez and barely hit his neck, which was enough for the German referee to give Barcelona another penalty.
Thomas Meunier Ridiculous Penalty Foul vs Neymar ~ Barca 3-0 PSG https://t.co/yi1ZNxgRmK
— CRY-Still-IS (@crystillis) March 9, 2017
— SebCbien (@SebCBienHein) March 9, 2017
The last goal happened because Serge Aurier lost his position during the free kick and allowed Sergi Roberto to rush in a free zone and score the winner.
Sergi Roberto set the football nation on fire 🔥🔥🔥👏👏⚽💪 pic.twitter.com/dyS5LsEaOW
— Eden (@EdenDassidy) March 8, 2017
Thus, all six goals scored by Barcelona happened thanks to horrible mistakes by PSG’s defense, which led to a humiliating 6-1 defeat.
Since joining Barcelona three seasons ago, Luis Enrique has been criticized for being too predictable, for not having plan B, and for his dependence on the trio Neymar – Suarez – Messi. However, the defeat in Paris three weeks ago, made Enrique think about changing the tactics. Yesterday, Barcelona switched from their usual scheme 4-3-3 to 3-4-3, which allowed the Spanish team to play relatively good in defense and put pressure on PSG. During the attacks, five or six players were inside PSG’s penalty area, which confused the defenders and caused their mistakes.
— Barça News Forum (@BarcaNewsForum) March 8, 2017
Luis Enrique also made substitutions, which helped Barcelona overturn the battle. When PSG scored a goal, and started to create moments near Ter-Stegen’s gates, Barcelona’s coach renewed the midfield, which allowed blaugranes to increase the pressure on PSG. As a result, the final goal was scored by Sergi Roberto who started the game on the bench.
PSG must blame themselves for such a horrible result. A team that literally destroyed Barcelona three weeks ago, just disappeared yesterday at Camp Nou. The performance from PSG last night cannot be explained by any logic. A top club – PSG revealed their potential during the first game – does not have a right to play like that. Unai Emery has to analyze the reasons of such a failure if he wants to succeed in the Champions League next season.