Mbappe brace sends Barcelona out; Atleti knocked out by Dortmund

Kylian Mbappe in action. (Source:

For Barcelona, the unkindest cuts came from two old boys. Luis Enrique played 300 times for the club as a player, and had an incredible win percentage of 76.24 in the three seasons he spent at the Nou Camp as coach (2014-17). He also remains the last Barca coach to lead them to Champions League glory (2015). Ousmane Dembele arrived in the city a couple of months after Enrique left, for a staggering fee of €105 million, plus millions in add-ons. When he left for Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) six years later – after 40 goals in 185 games – he had come to symbolise the years of reckless spending and waste that had pushed the club to the edge of financial ruin. 

On Tuesday night, Dembele’s sublime finish 11 minutes after Barca had been reduced to 10 men gave PSG parity on the night. Thereafter, Enrique moved the pieces around and PSG ran the hosts ragged to score three unanswered goals in the second half. Two of them arrived from the boot of Kylian Mbappe, who will leave Paris this summer, but who would yet win club football’s biggest trophy before doing so. 

Xavi Hernandez ranted and raved about the refereeing, having been red-carded in the second half, but he would do well to direct his ire at the tactical naivete of his players. Ronald Araujo is one of the most coveted defenders in the world, but it was his red card in the 29th minute that utterly transformed the tie. Bradley Barcola hasn’t set the Seine on fire in his first season in Paris, but his direct running and trickery down the left were too much for Barca all night. There had been alarm bells even before he set off with Araujo in hot pursuit. Had the clumsy pull-back been inside the box, Barca may have got away with conceding only a penalty. Instead, Araujo got a straight red and all the good work of half an hour had been undone. 

An electrifying run down the right from 16-year-old Yamine Lamal had set up Raphinha for a deflected finish in the 12th minute. At that stage, with a 4-2 aggregate lead, Barca were well on course for a semi-final place. Even after Araujo’s dismissal, PSG had to wait until the 54th minute and a thunderous long-range strike from Vitinha to draw level on aggregate. Seven minutes later, Mbappe put them ahead from the spot, and his second, a minute from the end of normal time, came after a bit of pinball in the area. 

Spain’s miserable night was complete with Atletico Madrid’s 5-4 aggregate loss to Borussia Dortmund in Germany. Trailing 2-1 from the first leg in Spain, Julian Brandt and Ian Maatsen – on loan from Chelsea – had given Dortmund a 2-0 lead in the first half. But a Mats Hummels own goals and a lashed finish from Angel Correa looked to have put Atleti in control in the second half. But Niclas Fullkrug’s header and a howitzer of a striker from Marcel Sabitzer gave Dortmund a famous victory. 

Atleti were beaten finalists to Real, their city rivals, in both 2014 and 2016. That 2014 final, where they lost 4-1 after extra-time, was the last time they had conceded four goals in a European tie. It’s now seven years since they made the last four, and it remains to be seen whether Diego Simeone has the appetite for a rebuild.