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Champions League: PSG's Enrique confident of beating Barcelona to reach semis

By Paul Myers - RFI
Football News REUTERS - Stephane Mahe
TUE, 16 APR 2024 LISTEN
REUTERS - Stephane Mahe

Paris Saint-Germain boss Luis Enrique was bullish on Monday over his side's chances of overturning a 3-2 deficit and reaching the Champions League semi final at the expense of Barcelona.

"We are firmly convinced that we will turn the score around," said the 53-year-old Spaniard ahead of the second leg in Barcelona.

"The first match was hard fought by both teams but the result did not reflect what we deserved," added Enrique who led Barcelona to their last Champions League crown in 2015.

During the first leg on 10 April at the Parc des Princes, PSG scored twice early in the second-half to lead 2-1.

Enrique's men appeared to be stretching Barcelona down the flanks and set to extend their advantage.

But the Ligue 1 pacesetters were undone by lackadaisical defending to allow Raphinha's equaliser and Andreas Christiansen's winner in the 77th minute.

"The 3-2 scoreline means we have to go for the game," added Enrique.

Return

Barcelona boss Xavi Hernandez – who won the Champions League trophy four times during his playing days at Barcelona – said in the immediate aftermath of the first leg that the tie was far from concluded.

On the eve of the return at the Estadio Olimpico Lluis Companys, Xavi said his players would seek another victory.

"We're not a team that will sit on our lead. We want to take the ball off PSG and win the game.

"It's the Champions League. It's Paris Saint-Germain and a game in which no one will be holding back. I hope we will be at our best because they will test us to the limit."

Barcelona will be without Christensen and Sergi Roberto who are both suspended for the match.

PSG welcome the return of defender Achraf Hakimi on the right. The 25-year-old Morocco international was suspended for the first leg and his ability to combine incisively with star striker Kylian Mbappé robbed the Parisians of a powerful offensive weapon.

Hunt

"We've come to Barcelona to bring the victory back to Paris," Hakimi said. "We've  coming with a lot of desire, the desire to change what happened in the first leg.

"We've been talking to each other and we've been motivating each other. We want to stick together and win."

Should the aggregate score remain level after extra-time, a penalty shoot-out will determine who plays Borussia Dortmund or Atletico Madrid in the semi-final.

"We have this slender lead but we have to go out as if we didn't have that advantage," said Pedri who set up Raphinia's equaliser shortly after entering the fray during the second-half in Paris.

PSG will be the fresher of the two squads. Three days after the first leg in Paris, Barcelona played Cadiz in La Liga while PSG – along with Lille and Marseille – were given the weekend off by Ligue 1 organisers in order to prepare for their ties in the European competitions.

"The days after the game were difficult for us," said Enrique. "But the good thing about this competition is that there is another game against the same opponent and now we have the idea of what we have to do.

"We are in a very good moment and we are ready."

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