Brilliant Mbappé scores three as PSG outclasses Barcelona, 4-1

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BARCELONA — Paris Saint-Germain’s (PSG) Kylian Mbappé fired in a stunning hat-trick as his side overcame the absence of Neymar to thrash Barcelona (4-1) away in their Champions League last-16 first leg on Tuesday to move within full view of the last eight.

Lionel Messi had blasted Barça ahead with a penalty in the first half, but Mbappé pulled the French champions level with a classy piece of control and finishing to complete a flowing team move also involving Marco Verratti and Layvin Kurzawa.

Mbappé, who had not scored in the Champions League knockouts for two years before Tuesday, smashed PSG into the lead in the 65th minute while Moise Kean took advantage of some woeful Barça marking to head in a third goal for the visitors in the 70th.

The insatiable Mbappé looked hungry for more though and after being denied a third goal of his own by Barça keeper Marc-André ter Stegen, he completed his treble in the 85th minute by curling the ball past the German into the top corner.

Barça overcame a 4-0 defeat to PSG in a last-16 first leg in 2017 by winning the second leg at home 6-1, but the Catalans now face another daunting task in turning this tie around when they visit the Parc des Princes on March 10. — Reuters