Playing against Barça in the Champions League and that too on your birthday; end up scoring a brace and guiding your team to an impressive win – what an amazing birthday eve Angel Di Maria had last night.
PSG hosted Barça in the UEFA Champions League round of 16 and sensationally destroyed the favorites with a 4-0 victory. Barça are now gazing an exit from the competition before quarter-finals for the first time in a decade.
Di Maria opened the scoring for the host with a brilliant outside-the-box free-kick and the new arrival, Julian Draxler, netted the second before the halftime. The former Real Madrid man, Di Maria scored his second and PSG’s third goal of the night before Edison Cavani wrapped the debate with a delicate touch.
Before the match, Barça were favorites as they have knocked PSG out of the Champions League twice in four seasons and teams coached by Emery have a disastrous record against Barça. However, the man of the moment, Angel Di Maria, celebrated his 29th birthday in style with the best performance of his career so far.
Undoubtedly, Angel Di Maria was at his sensational best, and it is hard to imagine what else could have gone right for the French giants. Angel Di Maria, the scorer of two goals, filled the void at PSG and strengthened his position as a remarkable cog in the purring PSG machine.
The PSG coach Emery, meanwhile, was full of praise for the former Manchester United man and his teammates: “Di Maria and Cavani have great careers behind them, and Draxler is still young, with a lot of things ahead of him,” he said.
“The understanding between the three of them was very high. We played a great game individually and collectively, with tremendous backing from the fans. But I still have a lot of respect for Barça and 90 minutes is long. We must keep our concentration for the return match.”
AWESOME: Angel Di Maria & Edison Cavani celebrate their birthday after beating Barcelona. 😎🎂 pic.twitter.com/B8je4Kd7k3
— SPORF (@Sporf) February 15, 2017
Di Maria played the role of the controller for PSG and gave the host a formidable start with just seven minutes down the game. He made sure that PSG utilized the home advantage to the fullest and gave the coach, Emery, a real sigh of relief. Barça had their chances, but they were unable to capitalize, leaving with a mountain to climb now.
Angel Di Maria is proving to be the man who can rotate in the PSG ranks, a role Zlatan held previously. Emery had already stated that Di Maria is the best option to replace Zlatan Ibrahimovic and he can guide the team in the same manner as the Swedish did. Well, without a doubt Di Maria is no short of talent, his brilliant dribbling, blistering fast runs, and accuracy to place the ball behind the net makes him one of the best, but does he qualify to be labeled great? Yes he does. He just needs a bit of focus to become the successor of Zlatan at PSG.
Sweet, sweet revenge for Angel Di Maria 🔥 pic.twitter.com/OnTWutX6Cz
— Bleacher Report UK (@br_uk) February 15, 2017
For Barça, the chapter is almost over. Scoring five goals at home is not just a small task but seems impossible. It is very unlikely that Barça will be able to score five goals against this PSG defense. We’ll have to wait for March to see the outcome at Camp Nou.