Mbappe, Barcola shine as PSG secure win in Champions League clash

Web Desk
Captain Mikel Merino hit the bar for Real Sociedad in the first half. — AFP
Captain Mikel Merino hit the bar for Real Sociedad in the first half. — AFP

Paris Saint-Germain emerged victorious in a hard-fought battle against Real Sociedad, securing a 2-0 win in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie. 

Kylian Mbappe and Bradley Barcola were the heroes for PSG, each contributing crucial goals in the second half.

Real Sociedad, unbeaten in this year's competition, initially posed a challenge, with PSG struggling in the first half. However, Kylian Mbappe's brilliance came to the forefront in the 58th minute when he volleyed home from Marquinhos' corner, breaking the deadlock and shifting the momentum in PSG's favor.

Captain Marquinhos acknowledged the team's halftime discussions and the impactful guidance from coach Luis Enrique. "Our attitude was much better in the second half. He (Luis Enrique) always tells us the truth, and that's very important for the team," said Marquinhos. The captain emphasised the importance of securing a win at home in the Champions League.

The second goal for PSG came from the talented Bradley Barcola in the 70th minute, sealing the victory with a skillful individual display. Barcola's ability to navigate through Real Sociedad's defense and slot the ball past the goalkeeper showcased PSG's attacking prowess.

Despite Real Sociedad's resilience, PSG's defense held firm, and the visitors now face a daunting task of overcoming a two-goal deficit in the return leg on March 5 in Spain.

Notably, PSG's triumph comes at a crucial juncture, alleviating the pressure on the team that had faced early exits in previous Champions League campaigns. Real Sociedad, in their first knockout tie in two decades, struggled to make an impact, further compounded by the absence of their injured captain and top scorer, Mikel Oyarzabal.

As Kylian Mbappe's side looks ahead to the return leg, supporters remain cautiously optimistic, considering PSG's history of challenging collapses in the competition's later stages. The journey continues for PSG, and the Champions League quest remains alive and well.