Barcelona's biggest strength in massive Paris victory shown in lineup

Barcelona's biggest strength in massive Paris victory shown in lineup

Barcelona showed character, grit, experience and tactical astuteness to beat PSG in their backyard in the first leg of the Champions League quarter-final.

It was a game that was defined by the finest of details despite the five-goal scoreline. Barca pinched it because their key players stepped up when their team needed them most.

How else do we explain Kylian Mbappe having zero shots on target for 90 minutes without looking at Joules Kounde? Or Marco Asensio being restricted to 17 touches and a half-time substitution without hailing Pau Cubarsi and Ronald Araujo.

That entire Barca defence played like a united band of ferocious warriors and completely shut down PSG's expensive and expansive attack. But there were moments of lapses in concentration and that's why the Parisians managed two goals in three minutes after the interval.

Besides Barca's defence bringing their A-game, Raphinha decided to carry the team in attack. The Brazilian was full of running and proved difficult to stop when dribbling through the channels.

2 goals, 4 shots on target, 3 key passes and 2 completed dribbles were enough to earn Raphinha the Man of the Match award for the first time in a Champions League game this season.

Ilkay Gundogan was everywhere in midfield and contributed another assist, his 11th of the season. Gundo's importance to everything Barca does must never be understated.

But Barca wouldn't have won this game without Xavi's tactical genius off the bench. Luis Enrique couldn't help but praise his former captain.

Xavi was bold enough to sub off Yamal early as the teenager seemed to struggle with all the brutal tackles he was receiving. But the idea of taking out Roberto, who was on a yellow, for a refreshed Pedri paid off immediately. The young midfielder provided an assist 35 seconds after entering the pitch.

Frenkie De Jong was also struggling in the game and Xavi was not shy to bring on Andreas Christensen. The Danish defender-turned-midfielder, went on to head home the match-winner on his 28th birthday.

Here's a lineup that highlights Barca's biggest strengths in their big 3-2 win in Paris