PSG 2-3 Barcelona: Raphinha Outshines Superstar Kylian Mbappe In UEFA Champions League Quarter-Final 1st Leg

Barcelona's Raphinha Was One Of The Best Performers Of UEFA Champions League Quarter-Finals
Barcelona's Raphinha Was One Of The Best Performers Of UEFA Champions League Quarter-Finals

French champions Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) welcomed five-time Europe conquerors Barcelona to the Parc des Princes for the first leg of their UEFA Champions League quarter-final on Wednesday night (April 10). Unbeaten in all competitions since November 2023, PSG were expected to take the fight to the Spanish champions right out of the gate but somehow never got into the groove. As a result, Xavi’s Blaugrana dominated Luis Enrique’s Parisians in France and returned to Spain with a commendable 3-2 victory. Raphinha and Andreas Christensen were on the scoresheet for Barca while Ousmane Dembele and Vitinha found the back of the net for Les Parisiens.

Raphinha Runs The Show For Bubbling Barcelona

There has been a lot of speculation regarding Raphinha’s future at Barcelona. According to rumors, the Catalans do not see him as an integral part of their project and could ship him off in the upcoming summer transfer window to raise funds. Judging by the rumors, the Brazilian winger needs to cash in on every opportunity to extend his stay in Catalonia and he seemingly had that desperation at the back of his mind on Wednesday.

The former Leeds United winger scored the first two goals for Barcelona, with the first one coming in the 37th minute. Gianluigi Donnarumma failed to deal with Lamine Yamal’s low cross from the right flank. The loose ball landed at Raphinha’s feet, allowing him to curl it into the back of the unguarded PSG net. Three minutes into the second half, Ousmane Dembele dispatched a venomous shot from inside the box, leaving Marc-Andre ter Stegen scrambling as the ball bulged the netting. A couple of minutes later, Vitinha put PSG in front, applying a cool finish from close range to top off a scintillating team move.

Just when it looked like Barcelona were heading toward a disappointing night, Raphinha struck again, executing an impeccable volley to send Pedri’s delivery into the back of the net. Raphinha came off for Ferran Torres in the 76th minute, but he was easily the standout performer of the Champions League quarter-final first leg.

PSG Superstar Kylian Mbappe Endures A Frustrating Night

While his contemporary Raphinha delivered a Man of the Match performance, PSG ace Kylian Mbappe was nowhere near his best. He did create three chances against the Blaugrana, but his runs rarely amounted to anything. He was also slow to react at times, which caused a few presentable opportunities to pass him by.

Over the course of the game, the Real Madrid-bound attacker failed to pull off four of his five attempted dribbles, played only two passes into the final third, lost eight of 10 ground duels, and committed three fouls. Mbappe must do a much better job in next week’s return leg if he wants to push his team to the final four of the UEFA Champions League.

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