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Xavi Says PSG Are Still Favourites To Reach Semifinals

Xavi at Barcelona
© Ace Football

In a gripping Champions League quarterfinal clash, Barcelona emerged victorious against Paris Saint-Germain with a narrow 3-2 win at the Parc des Princes.

Despite the triumph, Barcelona coach Xavi Hernandez remains cautious, acknowledging PSG’s continued status as favorites heading into the second leg.

Xavi commended his team’s defensive unity and overall performance but emphasized the challenge awaiting them in the return fixture at the Camp Nou. “PSG are still the favorites,” he asserted during the postgame press conference. “It will be very difficult to win in Barcelona.” Despite the odds, Xavi expressed pride in his team’s resilience, highlighting their ability to recover and mature during a challenging match.

The victory marks a significant step for Barcelona, who are aiming to reach their first Champions League semifinal since 2019 after consecutive group-stage exits. Xavi expressed hope that the win signals the end of a difficult period for the club in the Champions League, stating, “I hope the ghosts have died. This win shows that Barça are still alive.”

The match itself was a rollercoaster of emotions, with Raphinha opening the scoring for Barcelona before Ousmane Dembélé equalized for PSG shortly after halftime. Vitinha then put PSG ahead, only for Andreas Christensen to score the decisive goal for Barcelona in the 77th minute. Despite the defeat, PSG manager Luis Enrique remained optimistic about his team’s chances in the second leg, likening it to a final.

“We are not happy with the defeat,” Luis Enrique admitted, “but the second leg will be like a final now, it’s our objective.” He praised Barcelona for their performance while acknowledging areas for improvement for his own team. Refusing to dwell on individual performances, such as Kylian Mbappé’s subdued outing, Luis Enrique focused on the collective effort needed to secure qualification.

Looking ahead to the return leg in Barcelona, Luis Enrique adopted a determined stance, refusing to concede favoritism to Barcelona despite their home advantage. “We are going to go to Barcelona to fight a war,” he declared, emphasizing his belief in PSG’s ability to overturn the deficit. With the tie delicately poised, Luis Enrique emphasized the importance of seizing upon small details to tip the balance in PSG’s favor.

In conclusion, Barcelona’s victory over PSG sets the stage for an enthralling second leg as both teams vie for a spot in the Champions League semifinals. While Barcelona may have the advantage heading into the return fixture, PSG remains a formidable opponent, determined to stage a comeback. With tensions high and the stakes even higher, the stage is set for another captivating encounter between two European giants.