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Barcelona striker turns back the clock vs PSG, puts in classic no. 9 performance

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Photo by FRANCK FIFE/AFP via Getty Images

In the electrifying showdown between Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain in the UEFA Champions League quarter-final first leg, Robert Lewandowski may not have etched his name on the scoresheet, but his impact resonated across the pitch.

Despite being on the wrong side of his 30s, Lewandowski showcased a masterclass in athleticism and tactical understanding. 

Surging across the turf, he covered an astonishing 10.66 kilometres, outpacing his teammates and leaving an indelible mark on the match.

More than just a scorer

Traditionally hailed for his goal-scoring prowess, Lewandowski adopted a different role against PSG. Tasked with a deeper position, he became the linchpin of Barcelona’s strategy, flawlessly executing Xavi’s game plan. 

In a high-stakes encounter where driving past defensive barriers was difficult, Lewandowski astutely dropped back and became the axis of Barcelona’s attacks. 

Robert Lewandowski covered the most distance against PSG. (Photo by MIGUEL MEDINA/AFP via Getty Images)

His adeptness at receiving the ball enabled seamless transitions and incisive link-up play with his teammates.

In this newfound role, Lewandowski wasn’t just a provider; he represented Barcelona’s spirit of relentless effort. His influence extended beyond creating opportunities as he was a disruptive force, dismantling PSG’s rhythm with his relentless work ethic. 

Defensive awareness

Lewandowski’s defensive contributions left an indelible mark on the match as well. Winning five aerial duels and completing an impressive 33 passes with an accuracy of 87.9%, he dictated the tempo of the game with finesse. 

His movement inside and outside the penalty area kept PSG’s defence on their toes, creating openings and exploiting spaces with surgical precision.

Furthermore, with five recoveries and two tackles won, he mirrored the defensive grit of his teammates, which was only matched by Ilkay Gundogan and Pau Cubarsi, and bettered just by Joao Cancelo.

As Barcelona’s talismanic figure, Lewandowski proved that age is just a number, leaving an enduring mark on the biggest stage when Barcelona needed the most.

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