Football

Barca believe in Champions League 'miracle'

Spanish side bullish they can be first team to overcome a four-goal deficit in Champions League

Barcelona warmed up for their mission impossible against Paris Saint-Germain on Thursday morning (Singapore time) by showing they are capable of scoring the five goals they need to knock out the French champions.

After yesterday morning's 5-0 rout of Celta Vigo, outgoing Barca boss Luis Enrique said he had an "unbreakable faith" his side could turn their Champions League last-16 tie around, while Ivan Rakitic spoke of believing in miracles and Luis Suarez added that any team that could put four past Real Madrid at the Bernabeu could do the same against PSG.

No side in Champions League history has ever come back from four goals down, but Barca's hopes were raised by the sensational form of Lionel Messi against Celta.

The Argentinian scored two incredible individual goals to open and close the scoring as Barca remained one point clear of Real Madrid at the top of La Liga, although Real have a game in hand.

The five-time World Player of the Year had a hand in all three other goals too, as he teed up Neymar for a sensational chip and crossed for Samuel Umtiti to score his first Barca goal, while Rakitic was also on the scoresheet.

In their first outing since Enrique announced he would step down at the end of the season, Barca produced arguably their best performance of the campaign.

The Catalans also smashed Sporting Gijon 6-1 in their previous outing - both scorelines which would be good enough when PSG visit the Nou Camp.

"We will give everything from the first minute to the last," the Croatia international Rakitic told Spanish TV station Movistar.

"We will try and hopefully we can produce a miracle."

His thoughts were in sync with the Nou Camp faithful who held up banners urging their team to believe in a Champions League miracle.

They also made their voice heard in support of Enrique ahead of his impending exit.

Said Enrique: "That it is one of our best performances in the last few months is without doubt.

"If I had to choose the way in which we would go into the Champions League game against PSG, it would be very similar to these last two games: scoring lots of goals, the team gaining confidence and the players getting stronger.

"I think we are in great form for a very difficult tie, that is not lost yet. I am sure we are going to have opportunities to get ourselves back in it, and we will try until the death."

Striker Suarez added: "It's very difficult, but not impossible. If we get an early goal they will get nervous because they know we are capable of doing it.

"We have that ability to turn any situation around.

"If we were able to score four in the Bernabeu, why not against PSG at the Nou Camp."

MORE DANGEROUS

PSG's Spanish coach Unai Emery admitted Barcelona might be a more dangerous proposition after Enrique's shock departure announcement.

Speaking after yesterday morning's 1-0 Ligue 1 win over Nancy, he said: "Maybe they are now more dangerous.

"They have to work to overcome the first-leg result and they have the qualities for that. They have players who are used to playing very tough games and are able to overcome the result.

"That's why we need to prepare well, to be mentally ready, to realise it's going to be tough for 90 minutes."

While it might be a tough match, midfielder Blaise Matuidi was unflinching when asked if PSG should fear the worst-case scenario in Spain.

He replied: "Never...

"The first few minutes will be important. They will put us under pressure. They will want to score as quickly as possible.

"However, it is good for us when our opponents leave us lots of space. We will need to exploit that." - WIRE SERVICES

OTHER RESULTS

  • Leganes 1 Granada 0
  • Eibar 1 Real Madrid 4
  • Villarreal 2 Espanyol 0
  • Sporting Gijon 0 Deportivo 1
barcelonaParis Saint-GermainChampions League