It was a night for the stars in Paris for the home debut of the 2012-13 season! Paris Saint-Germain versus Barça was a mouth-watering match on paper, but it was also the chance for Carlo Ancelotti's side to measure themselves against the best team in the world.
Up front for PSG was the new attacking duo Lavezzi-Ibrahimovic, in front of their adoring home fans for the first time. Up front for the Blaugrana was a certain Leo Messi, triple Ballon d’Or winner….
Just a week before the start of the Ligue 1 campaign, Paris Saint-Germain faced one last test in a Parc at fever pitch. The aim was to finish the preseason undefeated, but also to build confidence and hit the ground running in a week's time for the eagerly anticipated league opener.
And it only took a matter of minutes after the kick-off. Like so often in the last two seasons, it was Nene the first to shine, even though his free-kick just failed to pick out Ibrahimović (5').
Moments later, and up the other end of the pitch, Alexis Sanchez on the right wing crossed for Rafinha on the edge of the box who controlled on the chest, bursting into the area and volleying passed Douchez. Unstoppable (0-1, 6').
More proof, if any were needed, that at this level, the slightest little mistake is exploited to the maximum. But that wasn't enough to dampen the ardours of Pastore and Lavezzi who looked right at home in such illustrious company. Nene went within a whisker of equalising but his free-kick flew just centimetres wide of Valdes' top corner (8').
For their part, Barcelona could count on the skills of Leo Messi and in the first 45 minutes the diminutive Argentine was everywhere. He was tackled in extremis by Bodmer (17'), before twice being denied by Douchez from tight angles (31', 38'). They were let offs for Les Rouge et Bleu, who finished the first half on top, but still trailed by a solitary goal at half-time.
Carlo Ancelotti used the half-time pause to bring on Sirigu in goal and Verratti in midfield. The former was called straight into the action. The visitors were awarded a penalty for a non-existant foul by Sakho on Alexis Sanchez (52'). One-on-one against PSG's Italy international 'keeper, Messi didn't crack, sending Sirigu the wrong way (0-2, 53').
Just two minutes later, Sirigu saved twice from the lively Alexis Sanchez (55'). With the hour mark approaching, the Parisians stepped on the accelerator. The impressive Lavezzi got the better of Montoya in the area and was brought down. Penalty for PSG (58')!
It was the moment for 'Ibra' to open his home account in front of his new supporters with a surgical finish just inside the post (1-2, 59')! The giant Sweden captain was substituted seconds later to an incredible ovation (62').
Barcelona coach Tito Vilanova threw on world and European champions Xavi Hernandez and Iniesta (63'). But it did little to slow the home side. Luyindula, making his return to action at the Parc, was twice denied at close range from the inspired Pinto (81').
Seconds later though, Camara rose highest to head home Pastore's corner (2-2, 82')! Fabregas called Sirigu into action one last time from distance (88'). There was no further change to the score in the 90 minutes, and as the Trophée de Paris needs a winner, the Cup went to penalties.
Penalties are always a special moment... especially for Pinto, who saved consecutively from Hoarau and Gameiro! Despite Armand hitting the back of the net, Fabregas made no mistake either as Barça ran out winners 4-1, on penalties.
It was a successful dress rehearsal for Les Rouge et Bleu, just seven days before the start of the Ligue 1 season. Two goals, lots of desire and determination and already good understanding and cohesion against one of the continent's strongest sides…