PSG vs Barcelona Classic Clash: February 15, 2017

The Hard Tackle looks back at a classic clash featuring PSG and Barcelona ahead of their Champions League quarter-finals.

PSG and Barcelona have played out epic encounters in the past, and they are all set to meet again in the knockout round of the UEFA Champions League. This time it is a quarter-final tie, and it promises to be an exciting two-legged affair which will help the winner take one step closer to the UCL title.

The French giants have not won the Champions League in their history. While they did make it to the final in the recent past, PSG could not get the better of Bayern Munich on the night. They were within touching distance of their maiden UCL title but unfortunately, it wasn’t meant to be.

PSG are once again looking to push for the ultimate prize in European football, but in their way stands a familiar foe in Barcelona. While the Catalan giants are not as dominant a force as they were back in the day, they still have the needed quality to get past any opposition on their day.

Barcelona have won the Champions League on five occasions. Their last win was back in the 2014/15 season. Since then, they have been trying to once again get their hands off the silverware, but it has eluded them. Things have not been that great for them in Europe in the recent past.

But, this is a completely different team led by a man who knows everything about winning at the highest level. Xavi will look to make sure his team is up for this challenge in PSG, who are led by former Barcelona boss Luis Enrique.

Laying the setting

Over the years, the two teams have met each other on 12 occasions in total. Two of those meetings were in the group stage, while the remaining have come in five knockout ties. There is nothing two separate PSG and Barcelona as both teams have won four matches each, and four matches between the two have ended in a draw.

The first time these two teams met was back in the 1994/95 season. It was a quarter-final tie which saw PSG come out on top with an aggregate score of 3-2.ย Their next meeting came in the 2012/13 season and once again, it was a quarter-final tie. But this time, Barcelona progressed to the next round on away goals (3-3).

Post that, they were drawn into the same group in the 2014/15 season, and they even squared up against each other in the quarter-finals that season. Barcelona won the quarter-finals 5-1 on aggregate and went on to win the Champions League that season.

They have met in the round of 16 in the 2016/17 season and the 2020/21 season. Barcelona won on the first occasion while PSG came out on top in the latest meeting between the two teams. These fixtures have had a lot of special moments over the years and given the kind of history the two teams share, it promises to be an edge-of-the-seat thriller.

Barcelona have not been at their best this season. They have been inconsistent, which is why they are eight points behind La Liga leaders Real Madrid. They dropped quite a few points in the first half of the season, and that is why they are struggling in the league.

But, Barcelona’s form since the turn of the calendar has been quite promising, which is why they will be confident about their chances here. Meanwhile, PSG are top of Ligue 1 and have a ten-point advantage over the second-placed team.

While the numbers suggest they have been a dominating force, the reality is that they have played quite a few draws this term. Having said that, they are no longer about the superstars, it is a well-rounded team under Luis Enrique, and they surely have the firepower to take down Barcelona.

But, before the two teams meet in the quarter-finals during the ongoing season, The Hard Tackle takes a closer look at an epic encounter between them, a clash that took place on February 15, 2017, at the Parc des Princes.

What happened on February 15, 2017?

Barcelona have lost a European away game by a margin of four goals on just three occasions in their entire history. One of those defeats came on February 15, 2017, when the Catalan giants travelled to the Parc de Princes to square up against PSG.

It was a round of 16 clash that saw the two heavyweights square up against each other. Heading into this fixture, Barcelona were the favourites despite PSG having a strong squad. The major reason why everyone expected the Catalan giants to win was their front three of Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Neymar.

They were considered to be one of the best front three in the world, and their record in front of goal was exceptional. While PSG did have a quality squad, it wasn’t on the same level. But, what happened that night stunned everyone.

Barcelona had the majority of the ball, but they could not create enough chances. The French giants managed to keep the famous MSN trio quiet and they managed to thrash them on the night.

Angel Di Marรญa gave PSG the lead in the 15th minute with a sensational free-kick before Julian Draxler made it two-nil in the favour of the home team. Before Barcelona could recover from a dreadful first half, they were 3-0 down thanks to another sensational strike by Di Maria.

Edinson Cavani made it 4-0 in the 72nd minute and the Spanish giants were left stunned. It was one of the most painful nights for Barcelona and their fans. They did not know what had hit them on the night. But, what followed was an even greater chapter in the history of the Catalan giants.

The Aftermath

While such an emphatic win does tend to set you up for an incredible campaign, unfortunately, PSG could not celebrate this win for long. On March 9, the French giants travelled to Camp Nou for the second leg, and what followed next has been etched in the history of Barcelona in gold.

Barcelona were four goals behind at the start but by the 50th minute, and they were just one goal away from levelling things up. However, Cavani scored an all-important away goal, the first of the tie in the 62nd minute which meant Barcelona needed another three to go through.

Against all odds, the Catalan giants did manage to do the impossible. They scored thrice right at the death. Neymar bagged a goal in the 88th minute before smashing a penalty home in injury time (90+1). And, very close to the final whistle, Sergi Roberto scored the winner leaving PSG stunned.

Barcelona did make it to the quarter-finals, but they could not go beyond it as they failed to get past Juventus. However, this tie between the Spanish giants, and PSG were surely one for the ages.

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