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Paris 2-3 Barcelona: Christensen header settles thriller

Raphinha scored twice but it was Andreas Christensen, on his 28th birthday, who headed the decisive goal for Xavi Hernández's men in Paris.

Highlights: Paris 2-3 Barcelona

Barcelona will take a 3-2 lead back to Spain for the second leg of their UEFA Champions League quarter-final tie with Paris after a roller-coaster first meeting in the French capital.

Key moments

21': Nuno Mendes clears off line from Lewandowski
: Raphinha fires Barcelona in front
: Dembélé drills Paris level
: Vitinha slides home side ahead
55': Ter Stegen tips Barcola drive on to bar
62': Raphinha hits second from Pedri chip
75': Dembélé sweeps effort against far post
77': Christensen heads in Gündoğan corner

Match in brief: Barça edge epic opener

Raphinha (left) celebrates his opener for Barcelona
Raphinha (left) celebrates his opener for BarcelonaGetty Images

Kang-in Lee and Marco Asensio were included in the Paris starting XI and both quickly made their presence felt with strikes that Marc-André ter Stegen had to repel. Barcelona gradually grew into the contest and had two chances midway through the first half, Nuno Mendes clearing off line from Robert Lewandowski before Gianluigi Donnarumma sprawled low to his left to keep out Raphinha's raking drive.

The goalkeeper could not deny the Brazilian forward in the 37th minute though, Raphinha whipping his finish into the far corner after Donnarumma had palmed away Lamine Yamal's teasing low cross.

The home side struggled to keep their heads above water for the rest of the half but the interval worked wonders for Luis Enrique's men as they were ahead within six minutes of the restart. Ousmane Dembélé's thumping effort from Ronald Araújo's half-clearance drew them level against his old club before Fabián Ruiz's incisive pass was neatly dispatched across Ter Stegen by the marauding Vitinha.

Ousmane Dembélé is congratulated after his equaliser for Paris
Ousmane Dembélé is congratulated after his equaliser for ParisAFP via Getty Images

Now it was Barcelona's turn to try and clear their heads and they managed it in the 62nd minute when Raphinha grabbed his second, a poised volley after a perfectly-timed run to latch on to substitute Pedri's lofted pass.

The Catalan team were not finished either. Dembélé hit a post and, within two minutes, Paris were behind as Andreas Christensen, on his 28th birthday, headed in İlkay Gündoğan's corner moments after coming off the bench to leave Luis Enrique's side with an uphill task next week.

As it happened: Paris 2-3 Barcelona

PlayStation® Player of the Match: Raphinha (Barcelona)

Player of the Match: Raphinha highlights

"He was very dangerous with his movement and speed. He knew exactly when to be available to receive or exploit space behind the Paris defence. Scored two goals, with the second one especially technically outstanding."
UEFA Technical Observer panel

Alex Clementson, Paris reporter

Luis Enrique must be navigating a whirlwind of emotions. Pride at Paris's early second-half comeback, regret at letting their lead slip. Fine margins dictate the grandest of contests and that maxim rings true this evening, but hope is not lost. When Paris up the intensity few teams can cope, but they'll be looking to elongate those periods of dominance into sustained control in the return. On to Barcelona, a city in which this club has a storied past.

Graham Hunter, Barcelona reporter

It's an old Hollywood tune, from the western musical Annie Get Your Gun, but these players may still know the song 'Anything You Can Do (I Can Do Better)'. Tuesday night at the Santiago Bernabéu was, by any standards, an all-time classic and this stand-out sequel, with goal following goal, looked like Barcelona's response to Real Madrid's spectacle with Man City. Xavi called it right with his substitutions, two immediate strikes coming courtesy of Pedri's assist and Christensen's header. Is it enough? Find out next week.


Raphinha: 'Pedri promised me a pass like that'

Xavi Hernández, Barcelona coach: "I'm extremely proud of my team. If you don't feel proud now, then when? I think Paris probably still remain favourites to go through. They are a terrific side and we've managed to reduce their impact tonight – we aimed to force them wide and we managed that. Particularly in the first half, we pressed really well, nice and high."

Raphinha, Barcelona forward: "These last few weeks we've been working very hard in training. To come here and return home with a win is pretty positive, I'd say. Winning is important, but this tie is nowhere near finished."

Luis Enrique, Paris coach: "Obviously it's a defeat we didn't want. We had good moments. We were up against a good team. We pressed well in the second half. But they were good, and they regained the lead. If we watch all the quarter-finals, there have been a lot of goals. When you play at this level, every team is a top outfit. We have to think of next week as a final."

Luis Enrique: 'It'll be a final in Barcelona'

Rio Ferdinand, TNT Sports

"Wonderful football, wonderful moments, goals galore. This competition never ceases to amaze me every year. These young kids for Barcelona were incredible today. You think experience gets you through but sometimes you need that fearlessness."

Key stats

  • Yamal (16 years 272 days) became the youngest ever player to start a Champions League quarter-final match and Pau Cubarsí (17 years 79 days) the second youngest. They both surpassed the previous landmark set by Bojan Krkić, who also played for Barcelona, aged 17 years 217 days, against Schalke in April 2008.
  • Marquinhos became Paris's all-time highest appearance holder with 436 games for the club.
  • Dembélé's goal was his second in the quarter-finals following his strike for Dortmund against Monaco in April 2017.
  • This is the fifth successive season in which a Brazilian has scored two goals in a Champions League quarter-final game, after Philippe Coutinho (Bayern 2019/20), Vinícius Junior (Real Madrid 2020/21), Roberto Firmino (Liverpool 2021/22) and Rodrygo (Real Madrid 2022/23).
  • Raphinha is the first player to score his first Champions League goal for Barcelona in a quarter-final since Yaya Touré against Schalke in 2008.
  • Christensen is the first Barcelona player to score in the Champions League on his birthday.
  • Barcelona have only failed to score in two of their last 28 UEFA competition matches against French teams.
  • Barça have lost the first leg in only one of their last 16 two-legged UEFA competition quarter-final ties (W8 D7).

Fantasy star performers

Raphinha: 13 points
Vitinha: 9 points
Andreas Christensen: 6 points
Ousmane Dembélé: 6 points
Fabián Ruiz: 6 points


Paris: Donnarumma; Marquinhos, Lucas Beraldo, Lucas Hernández, Nuno Mendes; Lee (Zaïre-Emery 61), Vitinha, Fabián Ruiz (Gonçalo Ramos 85); Dembélé, Mbappé, Asensio (Barcola 46)

Barcelona: Ter Stegen; Koundé, Ronald Araújo, Cubarsí, João Cancelo; Sergi Roberto (Pedri 61), De Jong (Christensen 75), Gündoğan (Fermín 85); Yamal (João Félix 61), Lewandowski, Raphinha (Ferran Torres 75)

What's next?

The second leg takes place in Barcelona on Tuesday 16 April.

Whoever comes through this tie will face the winners of the Atlético/Dortmund tie in the semi-finals.

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