BARCELONA, Spain: Kylian Mbapp scored a hat trick as Paris Saint-Germain came from behind to rout Barcelona 4-1 in the first leg of the round of 16 of the Champions League on Tuesday.
Lionel Messi put Barcelona in front by converting a first-half penalty but Mbapp led PSGs comeback in the absence of the injured Neymar. In the teams first meeting since Barcelonas memorable 6-1 victory to reverse a 4-0 loss at the same stage nearly four years ago, PSG again built a big first-leg advantage.
Mbapp scored five minutes after Messi’s opener and added two second-half goals to become the first player to score an away hat trick at the Camp Nou Stadium in the Champions League since Andriy Shevchenko for Dynamo Kyiv in a 4-0 win in 1997.
Moise Kean also scored in the second half for PSG, last seasons finalist which looked far more dangerous than the hosts throughout the match at the empty Camp Nou.
The second leg will be on March 10 in Paris.
Liverpool defeated Leipzig 2-0 in the other round-of-16 match on Tuesday.
Barcelona was in control early on and opened the scoring with a 27th-minute penalty after Frenkie de Jong fell in the area when his heel was clipped by defender Layvin Kurzawa.
Messi fired a left-footed shot into the top corner for his 10th goal in the last 10 matches.
Mauricio Pochettinos PSG immediately pressed forward and equalized five minutes later after a nice exchange of passes inside the area, with Mbapp controlling the ball and shooting it into the top of the net from close range after a clever one-touch pass by Marco Verratti.
PSG continued to play better and Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andr ter Stegen had to make a few good saves before Mbapp put his team ahead from inside the area in the 65th.
Kean added to the lead five minutes later with a header off a free kick, and Mbapp sealed the scoring by finishing off a quick counterattack by curling a first-time shot into the far corner in the 85th.
The goals allowed Mbapp to pass Pauleta for third place on the club’s all-time scoring list with 111 goals.
PSG was also without ngel Di Maria because of an injury. Neymar was a Barcelona player in the round-of-16 match in 2017, when he led the teams comeback with a great performance and two goals after the first-leg loss in Paris.
Barcelona, which lost 8-2 to Bayern Munich in last years quarterfinals, had a poor start to its season but was enjoying a good run entering the match against PSG.
The Catalan club also was depleted by injuries but saw the return of captain Gerard Piqu after he was sidelined for nearly three months because of a knee problem. Also out were Philippe Coutinho and Sergi Roberto, who scored the sixth goal five minutes into stoppage time to seal Barcelonas comeback in 2017.
Barcelona and PSG also met in the knockout round of the Champions League in 2013 and 2015, with the Spanish powerhouse coming out on top each time. PSG last advanced past Barcelona in the 1995 quarterfinals. Only Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund have faced each other more times in the Champions League since 2013.
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