Lionel Messi added yet another unbelievable strike to his collection on Wednesday for Barcelona against Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League at the Parc des Princes.
The Barcelona captain struck an absolute thunderbolt of a shot from fully 25 yards to make it 1-1 on the night after PSG striker Kylian Mbappe had opened the scoring from the penalty spot.
The goal gave Barcelona hope after an agonizing first half. Ronald Koeman’s side created a host of chances in the early stages but were wasteful in front of goal and then fell behind to a controversial penalty.
Center-back Clement Lenglet was adjudged to have fouled Mauro Icardi in the penalty area, but it looked a tough call with television replays showing the contact was accidental.
Messi’s goal was his fifth in the Champions League so far in 2020-21 and his 25th of the season in all competitions for Barcelona.
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Messi Pays the Penalty
Messi should have added a second in first-half stoppage time which would have given Barca genuine hope of pulling off a comeback after the visitors were awarded a penalty when Antoine Griezmann was fouled by Layvin Kurzawa in the area.
Messi stepped up to take the kick and saw his effort parried by goalkeeper Keylor Navas and onto the crossbar. The Argentine’s miss saw the teams head in at the break with the scores tied at 1-1 on the night and 5-2 to PSG on aggregate.
Opta noted how it’s a rare miss from the spot in the Champions League for Messi.
Barca almost scored from the ensuing corner. The ball was played in and flicked goalwards by midfielder Sergio Busquets, only for PSG defender Alessandro Florenzi to hook the ball clear off the line.
The visitors’ profligacy in front of goal will frustrate coach Koeman who called on his team to be effective in the final third in his pre-match press conference on Tuesday.
“We face the game with a very bad result but there’s always hope. It depends on the start, the energy we come out with, and how complicated we can make it for our opponents,” he explained. “It’s also about efficiency. They proved very effective in front of goal. We are a team that always goes out for the win and on top of that, we always create chances to score. We hope to be optimal in front of goal and nothing is impossible.”
More Penalty Controversy
Yet Messi’s penalty also drew controversy on social media. TV replays suggested the kick should have been retaken because PSG midfielder Marco Verratti, who was the first to clear after it had come off the crossbar, was encroaching when the penalty was taken.
A VAR check did take place after Messi’s penalty but the offense was not spotted and play continued. Koeman’s side may feel aggrieved not to have scored more in a dominant first-half performance.
The scoreline means Barca heads into the second half still needing to score three goals without reply just to force the match into extra-time.