Watch: Di Maria, Draxler, Cavani score in PSG's 4-0 thrashing of Barcelona

Tuesday February 14th, 2017

Paris Saint-Germain hasn't enjoyed the same smooth sailing that has resulted in Ligue 1 titles in recent years, but the star-studded squad is still proving to be a worthy opponent–and then some–for La Liga and Champions League contender Barcelona.

Angel Di Maria celebrated his 29th birthday with a gorgeous free-kick goal and another from outside the area, and Julian Draxler and Edinson Cavani scored as well, giving PSG its just reward for a dominant effort at Parc des Princes in the French capital, winning 4-0 in the first leg of the Champions League round of 16.

PSG pressured Barcelona throughout the opening minutes but only made it pay from the set piece, when Di Maria lined up a 20-yard free kick and blasted it through the Barcelona wall. 

Barcelona came close to equalizing through Andre Gomes, but his chance after a splitting through ball from Neymar was put into the side netting.

The visitors were made to pay for that profligacy in the 40th minute, when Julian Draxler's smooth finish after a pinpoint pass from Marco Verratti beat an otherwise heroic Marc Andre ter Stegen to give PSG a 2-0 lead.

Di Maria made it 3-0 with another stunning effort, curling a left-footed blast from just outside the area by ter Stegen.

Another birthday boy, Cavani, got into the action in the 72nd minute. With Barcelona looking for any ray of light, Cavani made a dark day even darker with a fantastic goal off a lethal counterattack to make it 4-0.

PSG avoided conceding an away goal, with Samuel Umtiti coming closest when he hit the post after Gerard Pique's headed set-up in the dying minutes, but Barcelona and its cavalcade of stars failed to break through. 

The second leg is slated for March 8 at Camp Nou, and Barcelona will have quite the mountain to climb if it is to avoid an uncharacteristic early exit from the competition.

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