Big loss to PSG a reality check for Barcelona

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Barcelona's Lionel Messi reacts after PSG's Kylian Mbappe scored his side's first goal during the Champions League round of 16, first leg soccer match between FC Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021. (AP Photo/Joan Monfort)

MADRID – Barcelona had just conceded the equalizer against Paris Saint-Germain when veteran defender Gerard Piqué snapped at his teammates at the Camp Nou.

Standing inside the penalty area after PSG had earned a corner, Piqué asked — yelling and using expletives — for the team to try to keep at least one long possession in attack.

Antoine Griezmann, who was trying to help the defense as PSG dominated and looked closer to scoring again, told Piqué to calm down and “stop yelling.” They argued for a few seconds, cursing at each other as teammates tried to get them to focus on the game.

“We’ve been suffering, and it’s been five minutes like that already,” Piqué said. “We’ve been running like crazy here.”

“I’m also running like crazy,” Griezmann replied as the ball went back in play and the discussion apparently ended.

But the struggles were far from over for Barcelona, which went on to lose 4-1 in the first leg of the round of 16 of the Champions League on Tuesday.

And this time, there are no signs of another memorable comeback for the Catalan club like the one that happened nearly four years ago with a 6-1 win to reverse a 4-0 first-leg loss in Paris.

The team looked beaten and bruised after the home loss on Tuesday, with players and coach Ronald Koeman conceding that Barcelona wasn’t up to the task against a better PSG team and admitting that things have to change.