Match ball for the best player on the Camp Nou pitch tonight, Kylian Mbappe 👏— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) February 16, 2021
(via @btsportfootball) pic.twitter.com/BFgo6AsDKP
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Kylian Mbappe put in the performance of the night with a brilliant hat-trick.
The long-awaited Champions League knockout stages kicked off today with fans being treated to a gripping pair of fixtures.
One of those fixtures seen Paris Saint-Germain take on Barcelona at the historic Camp Nou. In the other fixture, Liverpool travelled to Germany in order to face an RB Leipzig side who has enjoyed a meteoric rise over the years.
BARCELONA vs. PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN
With Neymar and Di Maria not available for selection, eyes turned to Kylian Mbappe as the man capable of getting PSG over the line.
Barcelona, however, had their say first as Lionel Messi converted a penalty after 27 minutes.
The penalty came after Messi played a fantastic long ball into the path of Frenkie De Jong who was then inadvertently fouled inside the box. The former then stepped up to the spot and dispatched with the coolness he’s displayed throughout his career.
Kylian Mbappe looked dangerous throughout the first half and his efforts paid off just minutes after Barcelona’s goal as he managed to get on the scoresheet himself.
The goal came after a brilliant team move starting down the left flank which had been exploited by PSG for much of the game. The ball was lofted into Mbappe’s feet after a good passing move and he then did well to evade a Barcelona defender before smashing the ball past Ter Stegen at the near post.
Mbappe didn’t slow down in the second half, either. In fact, he only got better.
He put PSG ahead in the 65th minute to make the scoreline 2-1. He was presented with a near open goal and he made no mistake in finding the net.
Former Everton striker Moise Kean then found the net in the 70th minute as he headed in from a well executed PSG free-kick to make it 3-1.
Mbappe wasn’t satisfied with a brace as he continued to terrorize the Barcelona backline. He got his hat-trick in the 85th minute after a brilliant PSG counter attack as he finished expertly into the top corner, leaving no chance for Marc-Andre ter Stegen.
MBAPPE. HAT-TRICK. pic.twitter.com/uULVl7kMWr
— B/R Football (@brfootball) FEBRUARY 16, 2021
Full time: Barcelona 1-4 Paris Saint-Germain
RP LEIPZIG vs. LIVERPOOL
Liverpool have come under scrutiny lately due to uncharacteristic poor performances including losses in their last 3 Premier League games.
They could have done with a positive result tonight to end their poor form. If they were to do so, though, they’d need to put together a convincing performance against an in-form RB Leipzig.
No goals were scored in the first half but Liverpool certainly made up for that in the second.
Mohamed Salah put Liverpool ahead as he so often does with a well executed finish into the bottom corner. It was the Egyptian’s 4th goal in 7 Champions League games this season.
Sadio Mane has come into criticism for his potency in front of goal – or lack of – in recent matches but he managed to get on the scoresheet in the 58th minute. He capitalized on a defensive mistake from Leipzig as he went through on goal and finished into the left-hand corner.
Full time: RB Leipzig 0-2 Liverpool