Mbappe Stuns Barca with Hat trick, Liverpool Gain Advantage in Budapest

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Kylian Mbappe scored a stunning hat-trick as Paris St-Germain ripped Barcelona apart in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie at the Nou Camp on Tuesday night.

The night did not start well for last year’s runners-up when they fell behind to Lionel Messi’s 27th-minute penalty.

Messi, regarded as one of the greatest players of all time, was then upstaged on his own turf by France World Cup winner Mbappe as PSG ruthlessly exposed the hosts.

Mbappe danced past Clement Lenglet and smashed in the equaliser before stroking home from 10 yards to turn the game around.

On-loan Everton striker Moise Kean continued his resurgence by heading in unchallenged at the far post to put the Ligue 1 champions in control of the tie.

With Barca looking to pull a goal back, they were caught on the counter-attack and Mbappe curled in the goal of the night with his third.

The second leg takes place on 20 March in Paris, by which time PSG hope to have Neymar back from a thigh injury to face his former side.

Sacked by Tottenham in November 2019, just five months after reaching the final of this competition, Mauricio Pochettino looks to be moulding a side that will be considered strong contenders led by the brilliant Mbappe.

Elsewhere last night, Liverpool ended their dire recent run with a confidence-boosting 2-0 victory over RB Leipzig to give themselves a superb chance of reaching the last eight of the Champions League.

Played away in Budapest’s Puskas Arena because of Covid-19 restrictions.

Mohamed Salah showed superb awareness to quickly latch on to a loose back-pass before finishing neatly.

Sadio Mane was then equally alert to take advantage of a fluffed attempted clearance from Nordi Mukiele to charge through and side-foot past Peter Gulacsi.