MAURICIO POCHETTINO’S Paris Saint-Germain held their nerve to book their place in the quarter-finals of the Champions’ League – thanks to Lionel Miss-i.
The Argentine legend, 33, proved he might just be human after all by fluffing his lines on the stroke of half-time when he missed a crucial penalty.
To rub salt in Messi’s wounds it was his former Real Madrid foe Keylor Navas who blocked the ball with his legs to send it bouncing off the crossbar to safety.
A goal then would have put Barcelona 2-1 up at the break and really tested the bottle of Poch’s Parisians, four years after the most famous comeback in Champions’ League history.
On that famous night Barca smashed PSG 6-1 at the Nou Camp to overturn a 4-0 first-leg deficit, digging out three goals in a never-to-be-forgotten final seven minutes.
Last night’s task was even more ridiculous as they attempted to overcome a 4-1 first-leg loss – on enemy territory this time.
To their credit they made a decent fist of it and, at times, Ronald Koeman’s battlers looked capable of pulling off Mission Impossible 2.
But Ousmane Dembele forgot to pack his shooting boots and missed more first half chances than most clubs create in a season just when Barcelona needed a killer touch..
Sadly, VAR took centre stage when English ref Anthony Taylor handed PSG the softest of penalties after 29 minutes.
He spotted Clement Lenglet accidentally stepping on Mauro Icardi’s heel – even though the Italian was nowhere near the ball when Layvin Kurzawa crossed straight to Marc-Andre ter Stegen’s hands.
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But VAR agreed with Taylor and Kylian Mbappe slammed his spot kick high into the roof of Ter Stegen’s net.
Messi hit back as only he can six minutes later when he rifled a 30 yard rocket beyond Navas to give PSG the jitters.
And when Taylor pointed to the spot again in first half stoppage time, after Kurzawa fouled Griesmann, the stage was set for Messi to spark a second half stampede.
However for once, the little genius wasn’t destined to the hero.
Barcelona's Champions League last-16 exit is their earliest in 14 years.
Mbappe's goal also saw him beat Messi's record of youngest player to score 25 Champions League goals.
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