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‘It’s a new Barca’ – Xavi ‘proud’ of youngsters and fires ominous warning after win

‘It’s a new Barca’ – Xavi ‘proud’ of youngsters and fires ominous warning after win

Xavi Hernandez hailed the start of “a new Barca” after a pair of La Masia players starred as the Catalans came from behind to beat Paris Saint-Germain 3-2 in the first leg of their UEFA Champions League quarter-final.

Winger Lamine Yamal, 16, and centre-back Pau Cubarsi, 17, got the nod to start at the Parc des Princes in a game of huge importance to both clubs and took their chance to impress.

Yamal’s devilish outswinging ball into the box paved the way for Raphinha’s first goal in the 37th minute, while Cubarsi dealt with threats at the other end of the pitch with aplomb on just his second appearance in Europe’s greatest club competition.

With Fermin Lopez, 20, and Pedri, 21, coming off the bench, it’s little wonder Xavi, who will leave at the end of the season, is so optimistic about the future.

“We have to be proud,” Xavi told TNT Sports. “With Cubarsi, 17, Lamine, 16, Fermin is a player from La Masia also and they have more commitment with the team, so I’m very happy because it’s a new Barca and we are in a good way I think.”

Barcelona led at half-time thanks to Raphinha’s well-taken opener but were stunned by two goals in three minutes shortly after the break.

Former player Ousmane Dembele drew PSG level with a stunning strike before Vitinha flipped the game on its head when he poked past Marc-Andre ter Stegen in the 51st minute.

But Barcelona’s substitutions wrestled momentum back in their favour.

Pedri marked his 61st-minute introduction with an exquisite assist for Raphinha with one of his first touches of the game before Andreas Christensen headed past Gianluigi Donnarumma to give Barcelona a slender advantage for next week’s second leg at the Camp Nou.

“It’s a big win of course, playing away in the Champions League,” Xavi added. “We did really well in defence and attack but especially in defence. Everybody worked for the team and tactically we did really well.

“The wingers helped us a lot. Cubarsi jumped so well, first against Kang-In Lee, sometimes to Asensio because they changed a lot of players.

“We defended so well against [Kylian] Mbappe with Jules Kounde and Ronald Araujo and we created many chances.

“I think Robert [Lewandowski] made a difference, Raphinha, and then the players that came inside really helped us a lot, especially Pedri.

“I’m very happy and very proud of the team. It’s just a small advantage but it’s a big win.”

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