Lionel Messi scored one stunning goal but then had a penalty saved as Barcelona failed in their attempt to produce a second Champions League comeback for the ages against Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday, a 1-1 draw taking the French side through to the quarterfinals 5-2 on aggregate.
Kylian Mbappe had netted a hat-trick as PSG stunned Barca 4-1 in the first leg last month, and he extended their advantage in this last-16 tie by netting a first-half penalty in the second leg to put last season’s runners-up ahead on the night.
But Messi made it 1-1 with a ferocious strike from 30 metres and the Argentine had the chance to put the visitors ahead after Antoine Griezmann was fouled in the area, only for the outstanding Keylor Navas to tip his spot-kick onto the bar.
Barcelona certainly went for it, but there was to be no repeat of their infamous recovery against the same opponents at the same stage four years ago, when they lost the first leg 4-0 but triumphed 6-1 in the return.
Their coach Ronald Koeman will nevertheless be encouraged by the way his team played on a cold, wet and windy night at an empty Parc des Princes.
Barcelona have been a club in crisis for some time but they have a new president in Joan Laporta, who will hope to restore calm at boardroom level, and they can still hope to finish the season strongly domestically.
Meanwhile PSG are, in the end, safely through to the quarterfinals as they look to go one better than last season and win the Champions League for the first time.
They will feel this tie marks another step forward in their quest to become Europe’s dominant force, after three defeats at Barcelona’s hands in knockout ties since the Qatar Sports Investments takeover of a decade ago.
Victory was achieved despite Neymar missing both legs due to injury, with Mbappe providing enough stardust on his own.