Barcelona on verge of UCL elimination after 4-0 thrashing from PSG
FC Barcelona entered this year's Champions League Round of 16 as heavy favorites to win the European Cup at 31%, according to FiveThirtyEight's Soccer Power Index. But following an unprecedented 4-0 loss at the hands of Paris St-Germain Tuesday evening, Barca is now on the verge of an early exit from Europe's most-prized tournament.
On his 29th birthday PSG's Angel Di Maria out-shined everyone on the pitch, scoring on two sensational strikes at the Parc des Princes in a top-form performance. Edinson Cavani and PSG's newest acquisition Julian Draxler also tallied a goal each. The Paris attack altogether had their way with Barcelona's back line the entire match, dominating the shot chart with 16 total shots including ten on target. Barcelona mustered seven scattered shots with only one hitting the target.
It was a forgettable European night for the 5-time European Champions from Catalonia who struggled from the kickoff and never found momentum against a formidable French side. PSG, who has been eliminated from the Quarterfinals the past four years including losses to Barcelona in 2013 and 2015, wrote a new script to their daunting history in Champions League competition.
Paris St-Germain has yet to seriously contend on the top European stage. Now, it has a golden opportunity to silence its critics by eliminating one of the strongest clubs in European history. Barcelona has not been knocked out in the UCL Round of 16 since 2006-07 when Liverpool did so. PSG became just the sixth team to ever score four goals against Barca in a Champions League game.
Barca boss Luis Enrique was extremely honest with the media following the loss. “It’s not very difficult to explain. They were better than us from the start and put us under pressure,” Enrique told reporters. “We couldn’t get out of it. We were obviously inferior tonight.”
History is not on the side of Barca
According to SPI, Barcelona had an 83% chance of advancing to the UCL Quarterfinals, the highest odds for any of the sixteen teams. Those odds have since then plummeted to 7% after the 4-0 thrashing Tuesday evening. No team has ever turned around a four-goal deficit to force a tie in the UCL.
Surely, Barcelona is capable of scoring loads of goals at home. Nonetheless, they need a 4-0 win at Camp Nou to force a tie. If PSG scores just one goal, it would force Barca to score six goals because of the UCL aggregate rules that counts away-goals in a tie-breaker situation. (Example: A 5-1 Barcelona win at home makes the total aggregate 5-5, with the tie going to PSG based on its one away goal)
Is it impossible for Barca to force a tie on March 8th at Camp Nou? No, but to say it is probable--even for a team with the stature and success of Barcelona--is a serious reach when considering how impressive PSG looked in the first leg.