Raphinha brace helps Barcelone to 1st-leg win at PSG

April 10, 2024, 5:19 PM

Brazil forward Raphinha scored twice to help Barcelona secure a 3-2 win at Paris Saint-Germain in their Champions League quarterfinal first leg on Wednesday.

PSG forward Kylian Mbappé was nowhere to be found in Parc des Princes as five-time European champions Barca managed to neutralise France's captain, who was often frustrated in his attempts up-front.

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Xavi Hernandez's side dominated proceedings early on against the French side still looking for a first Champions League crown. Raphinha gave the visitors the lead with a rebound strike in the 37th minute after goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma failed to clear a cross from his box.

Donnarumma looked nervous throughout the match, showing bad timing and making errors that almost led to Barcelona scoring the opener earlier in the first half.

However, PSG looked transformed after the break with manager Luis Enrique switching things up and bringing on forward Bradley Barcola for Marco Asensio.

The attacking change resulted in the equaliser in the 48th minute when Ousmane Dembélé smashed the ball into the top corner. Barca were still reeling when the hosts took the lead through Vitinha who stroked the ball in two minutes later from a quick counter attack.

But Raphinha's deft volley in the 62nd minute from a brilliant long pass by substitute Pedri brought the match level again, silencing the home crowd.

Andreas Christensen then took advantage of a static Donnarumma to jump unchallenged in the 6-yard box and head in from a corner 13 minutes from time to give the Spanish side a narrow advantage going into next week's second leg.

"It was a spectacular night, not only for me, but for the team, as well," Raphinha told reporters.

"We have been working very hard to come out and play like we did, showing our grit with such a good atmosphere is a very positive sign moving forward."