Barcelona claim 'great victory' at PSG to hold Champions League quarter-final advantage

Spanish side beat French champions 3-2 at Parc des Princes in the first leg on Wednesday night

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Barcelona manager Xavi praised his team's "great victory" over Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday after a 3-2 win at the Parc des Princes gave the Catalans a slender advantage in their Champions League quarter-final.

Brazilian winger Raphinha gave the visitors the lead at half time, only for PSG to turn the game on its head with goals by Ousmane Dembele and Vitinha in the first six minutes after the restart.

However, Raphinha volleyed in a Pedri pass to equalise midway through the second half, before substitute Andreas Christensen's 77th-minute header gave Barca the victory.

"We had time to prepare for this game and everything turned out very well, in defence and in attack. We are proud of the team. Paris played very well, but we kept their threat to a minimum," said Xavi, whose side are unbeaten in 12 games since he announced he would depart at the end of the season.

"It is a great victory against one of the best teams in the world. It is very difficult to defend against this team because of how they press you, but we did it very well. We are only halfway there though, and it will be very difficult in Barcelona."

The Catalans are appearing in the last eight of the Champions League for the first time since 2020, when they lost 8-2 to Bayern Munich in Lisbon, and since Lionel Messi left the club. It is their first away win in the knockout phase of the competition since 2019.

"The players believe in themselves," said Xavi as he looked ahead to next Tuesday's return at Montjuic. "They have this opportunity, and if they play in the same way they will get chances. Nothing is done but we can be proud. This match shows that Barca are very much alive."

It was a disappointing night for PSG, with Kylian Mbappe for once failing to deliver on a big occasion.

The French forward scored a hat-trick on the French club's last visit to Barcelona in the competition in 2021, though, and their manager Luis Enrique is optimistic they can still progress.

"Congratulations to Barca for the victory. I think we could have got a different result but we accept the scoreline tonight and are focused on turning it around," he said after PSG suffered their first defeat since losing 2-1 away to AC Milan in the group stage in early November.

"I have no doubt that we can turn it around and that we will. That is my objective. We have not lost away from home in the league this season. We have six days until this game. Away goals no longer count and that helps us in this case.

"We could have won this game. I am not saying the result is unfair but it came down to little details and we will work to ensure that in the return the little details go in our favour."

Atletico prepared to 'suffer' at Dortmund

Antoine Griezmann said Atletico Madrid will have to "suffer" at Borussia Dortmund to reach the Champions League semi-finals.

Diego Simeone's side beat their German visitors 2-1 in the quarter-final first leg on Wednesday but after dominating the first half their advantage could have been bigger.

Rodrigo De Paul and Samuel Lino netted in the first half but Sebastien Haller hit back in the 81st minute. Dortmund then hit the woodwork twice in the final stages as Atletico clung on for victory.

"In the second half they had the ball and pegged us back, we suffered quite a lot," Griezmann told Movistar. "We will have to suffer there – we've got to go for the game and win it, we've got the quality to get to the semi-finals and beyond."

Griezmann spoke to media with an ice pack strapped to his ankle but said he would be fine after some treatment and rest, after manager Simeone said he had been playing through a niggle.

"We've got the best physios in Europe to recover well, I'm doing very well, trying to help the team," he said.

Griezmann said he was expecting strong support from Atletico fans for the return in Dortmund next Tuesday.

"Atletico supporters travel, they prefer to travel for the team than to buy things they need for their homes, I'm so proud to be at this club," he said. "Maybe it didn't look great [in the end] but it's a win in the quarter-finals and it's very important to win."

Simeone, who recorded his 50th win in the Champions League as a manager, agreed with Griezmann about the second leg.

"I view [the second leg] as very tough, difficult, it's huge," said the Argentine. "We have to be prepared for what awaits us."

Updated: April 11, 2024, 4:15 AM