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Paris get better of Barcelona in five-goal thriller

Paris Saint-Germain 3-2 FC Barcelona
David Luiz, Marco Verratti and Blaise Matuidi shattered the visitors' previously impregnable defence and earned a notable Group F success.

David Luiz opens scoring with first goal Barcelona have conceded this season
Lionel Messi responds within two minutes but Marco Verratti heads in his first Paris goal
Blaise Matuidi adds second-half third for hosts before another rapid retort, from Neymar
Xavi Hernández makes record 143rd appearance in UEFA Champions League proper
Next matches: APOEL v Paris, Barcelona v Ajax (21 October)

Paris Saint-Germain cast off their recent troubles to lay a significant marker in Group F, edging a thrilling match 3-2 against fellow section heavyweights FC Barcelona.

Although the pre-match talk revolved around Zlatan Ibrahimović's heel injury, Paris needed ten minutes to show they could cope without their talismanic forward, David Luiz becoming the first player to score against Barcelona this term. Lionel Messi responded immediately, but the French champions punished Barça from a second set piece via Marco Verratti, before Blaise Matuidi and Neymar swapped quickfire second-half efforts on a famous night for the hosts.

Despite the mood of doubt swirling around the Parc des Princes ahead of kick-off, Paris belied their unconvincing Ligue 1 form with some effective probing, shuffling neat passes around in a style reminiscent of their opponents. They looked neither lost without Ibrahimović nor overawed by the occasion, and turned their early gains into a goal when Luiz controlled and slotted a Lucas free-kick low past Marc-André ter Stegen from close range.

The first goal Barcelona had conceded in 681 minutes stretching back to last season, Luiz's opener brought a predictably forceful response. Indeed, the home fans had hardly finished celebrating before Messi exchanged passes with Andrés Iniesta and steered a fine left-footed effort across Salvatore Sirigu.

Edinson Cavani then shot over as an electrifying start threatened to become epic, but everyone was allowed time to breathe before the next chance – Sirigu grappling onto an acrobatic Messi attempt. The respite did not last long, however, and, with 26 minutes gone, Verratti headed in a Thiago Motta corner for his first Paris goal.

Having exploited set pieces to devastating effect, Laurent Blanc's men hit their third on the break, Matuidi rushing in at the back post to slam in a Gregory van der Wiel cross. To Blanc's supreme frustration, though, his charges were promptly guilty of switching off for a second time, and Neymar finished expertly in off the far post after receiving the ball from Daniel Alves.

Barcelona introduced Munir El Haddadi and Xavi Hernández – making a record 143rd appearance in the UEFA Champions League proper – as they tried to conjure an equaliser. With Paris switching focus to defending their lead, the Blaugrana were allowed to dictate play, and Marquinhos had to react superbly to block Jordi Alba before El Haddadi fired against the post from distance. There was to be no final serving of drama.

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