On a red hot night of UCL action PSG dump Barca as Dortmund turn glory into misery for Atleti

April 17 – It was an uncharacteristically poor night of European club football for Spanish teams on Tuesday as the Champions League qualified its first two semi-finalists, with PSG and Borussia Dortmund both overcoming first leg deficits to go through on a thrilling evening of European football.

Raphinha’s early goal made FC Barcelona look set for an early ticket to the semi-finals, cruising at home with a 2-goal lead over youthful opponents PSG.

The Brazilian’s work was quickly undone after Ronald Araujo pulled down Bradley Barcola on the edge of the box, earning the Uruguayan a controversial straight red card and completely derailing his team’s home composure.

The dismissal meant the end for talented youngster Lamine Yamal, who assisted the opener, as Xavi looked to shore up the defence.

It didn’t take long for PSG to capitalise on their numerical advantage, which left 17-year-old Barca defender Pau Cubarsi as the lone centre back for a sustained period. They equalised on the night thanks to a thumping effort from Ousmane Dembele against his former club.

Entering into the second half, Barcelona’s game plan began to melt away as manager Xavi Hernandez saw red for his pitch-side antics despite still leading on aggregate. It seems unlikely this match has remedied the Spaniard’s eagerness to leave the club at the end of the season.

Teaching the Catalan club a lesson in composure, PSG midfielder Vitinha slotted home to bring his side level on aggregate and shift the tide unprecedentedly in PSG’s favour.

Almost poetically, Barcelona defender Joao Cancelo gave away a penalty for a mistimed tackle on Ousmane Dembele, which Kylian Mbappe sent into the top left corner earning PSG a good-value lead just seven minutes after Vitinha’s equaliser.

The Frenchman then doubled his individual contribution with a late goal to seal his side’s progression to the semi finals, with the final score at 1-4 (4-6 on aggregate).

Xavi took the opportunity post-match to complain over the officiating for the tie.

“The referee was really bad. I told him his performance was a disaster. I don’t like to talk about referees, but it had a clear impact in the season and it has to be said,” Xavi fumed.

“We are very upset and angry because the red card was the decisive factor in the match. With 11, we were in a good position, playing well and in command.

“It’s too much to flash a red card in a game like this. There was another game after that… It is a pity that the work of the season was ruined by an unnecessary expulsion.”

Elsewhere, Borussia Dortmund scored four to overcome Atletico Madrid in an equally heart-thumping tie.

Known for their defensive dark art tactics in the Champions League, Atleti showed all the signs of creating a stubborn low-block to see out the match, which they entered with a favourable one-goal lead.

Their defensive approach wasn’t enough as Dortmund went in for the half time break 2-0 up thanks to quick-fire goals from Julian Brandt and Ian Maatsen, forcing Simeone to alter his defensive five-back in a bid to grab a goal or two back.

The Argentine’s substitutions worked to great effect, levelling the aggregate scoreline after just five minutes of second-half action through and own-goal by Mats Hummels. Capitalising on their momentum, Atleti substitute Angel Correa blasted a close range effort into the roof of the net to regift his side the aggregate lead in the 64th minute.

With his team looking flatter with each passing minute, Dortmund striker Niclas Fullkrug guided a glancing header past Jan Oblak to reinvigorate the Germans and set up the match for a full-throttle close – the aggregate score 4-4 with 20 minutes to play.

It was Summer signing Marcel Sabitzer that made the difference for Dortmund through an emphatic strike into the bottom right corner, summoning a cheer that rocked the Ruhr.

As a result, Borussia Dortmund and PSG will meet in the UEFA Champions League semi finals, which begin on the April 30.

Contact the writer of this story, Harry Ewing, at moc.l1718765722labto1718765722ofdlr1718765722owedi1718765722sni@g1718765722niwe.1718765722yrrah1718765722