This time, Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) has its revenge. Better yet: its own “remontada.” Seven years after the trauma of a shameful elimination at the Camp Nou, PSG qualified for the last four of the Champions League by correcting FC Barcelona (4-1), Tuesday April 16, in its Olympic stadium Lluis- Companys, after losing the first leg at the Parc des Princes (2-3).

Since March 8, 2017 and this famous “comeback”, Paris has tormented Barça on numerous occasions. He had already eliminated him, in the round of 16 of the 2021 edition, after a slap and a masterful hat-trick from Kylian Mbappé at Camp Nou (4-1). The capital club had stolen its best players from its Catalan counterpart in recent years – Neymar, Lionel Messi, Ousmane Dembélé – and participated behind the scenes in the collapse of the Superleague, a project led among others by Barça in 2021.

But as soon as PSG approached the summits of the Champions League in recent seasons, a form of psychological fragility inexorably returned, like aftershocks from the 2017 earthquake. Paris was missing something, or rather someone, to defeat the Indian sign. Luis Enrique, tormentor of the capital club in his time, managed to repeat this feat on the PSG bench.

His method, already proven at the time, worked again. “We are convinced that we will turn the situation around,” the PSG coach predicted before this return match. In recent days, the Asturian has been able to plant the seed of the feat in the heads of his players, so that they appeared relaxed, despite the setback of the first leg and the importance of the meeting to come.

Dembélé responds to Barcelona supporters

The Asturian refused to “be stupid and choose one remontada rather than another”. He, the former Barça player and coach, will not deny having experienced a great moment at the end of the match. A moment which recalled the photograph of March 8, 2017: the joy of the 3,000 Parisians present in the visitor’s park of the Olympic stadium contrasted with the consternation on the faces of the Culers – the Barcelona supporters – at the moment of the goal scored at the very end of the match by Kylian Mbappé (1-4, 89th).

Before this dream epilogue, synonymous with qualification, there had been a flirtation with the void and a deficit of two goals to make up for after Raphinha’s opening score, on the first Catalan offensive of the match (1-0, 12th) . “Even after the goal we conceded, we got back up. We remained calm,” analyzed Vitinha after the meeting on Canal . PSG has therefore not stopped believing in it, but sometimes it takes a helping hand from destiny to turn around a bad situation.

It materialized by the red card of Ronald Araujo, guilty of a foul on Bradley Barcola in the position of last defender (29th). “Without the expulsion, I think we would have still won the match,” assured Luis Enrique. ” No. I do not agree. The refereeing was weird, not to use any other words. We were better than PSG eleven against eleven,” replied Xavi, the Barça coach, excluded for protest in the second period (56th) by Istvan Kovacs, the referee of the match.

For more than an hour, PSG therefore played in numerical superiority and took the opportunity to equalize following the decisive pass from the very good Barcola for Ousmane Dembélé, again scorer against his former club (1-1, 40th) . The latter was whistled throughout the match by Barcelona supporters, who had burned his jersey and distributed tickets with his image on which the word “Judas” was written, before the match.

His man of the match title could just as well have been awarded to Vitinha. The Portuguese is the boss of the Parisian community. He sets the tempo, harangues his partners and sometimes delivers strikes that are as sudden as they are unstoppable, like the one that deceived Marc-André ter Stegen (1-2, 54th). Less than five minutes later, Dembélé won a penalty for a foul by Joao Cancelo in the penalty area.

Mbappé wants to “win the Champions League with Paris”

Highly criticized after the first leg, Mbappé stepped forward to transform it without trembling (1-3, 61st). The Bondynois knew that he would play his last European Cup match with Paris on Tuesday, in the event of elimination. Often out of action in recent weeks, he has not been successful on the pitch at the Olympic stadium. But as everyone expected and expected, it was he who qualified PSG as his double.

Despite some scares at the end of the match and the rescues of Barcola (63rd) and Marquinhos (73rd) in front of Ferran Torres who was preparing to send the two teams into overtime, the adventure continues for Paris and Mbappé. Two eras continue to collide. The one embodied by Mbappé, set to end at the end of the season. And that of Luis Enrique, who is starting in the best way, since the capital club can still achieve the treble by winning Ligue 1, the Coupe de France and the Champions League.

The slight differences that appeared in recent weeks between the two men evaporated on Tuesday in the ecstasy of this Parisian “remontada”. Luis Enrique praised the work of his attacker in pressing, “undisputed leader of the team in this aspect”. As for Mbappé, he reaffirmed his desire to “win the Champions League with Paris”, in response to anyone who wanted to believe that he was already planning to join Real Madrid, where he is expected next season.

Paris therefore joins the final four of the Champions League for the first time since 2021 and its elimination, at the time, against Manchester City. This time, Paris was luckier in the draw and will face Borussia Dortmund, who for their part overthrew Atlético de Madrid (4-2), in the semi-finals. During the group stage, PSG finished 2nd, behind the German club. A lot has changed since then and April 16, 2024 could now help the capital club scale new heights.