PARIS -- Paris Saint-Germain are into the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals for the second consecutive season. PSG's 1-1 draw against Barcelona at Parc des Princes on Wednesday completed a 5-2 aggregate victory for last campaign's finalists.
It was nearly a return to bad old habits for the French giants as the Catalan outfit launched an all-out assault on the home goal in the capital and created a flurry of chances that could have been enough to see them overcome the 4-1 deficit from the opening leg if their finishing had been sharper.
However, it was not just a story of wasteful Barca finishing in Paris -- it was also one man's battle against an onslaught led by the likes Lionel Messi, Antoine Griezmann and Ousmane Dembele: Goalkeeper Keylor Navas was PSG's hero.
The Costa Rica international has come up big so many times already for Les Parisiens since his 2019 arrival from Real Madrid and his return to Santiago Bernabeu just months after that move and Atalanta BC in last season's UCL final run particularly stick in the memory.
This, though, was arguably a cut above those sensational showings and Navas fully deserved the plaudits that came his way immediately after the final whistle on a wet and windy evening when the only thing that could beat him was Messi's incredible first-half equalizer.
Of the nine efforts Barca managed to get on target in the opening 45 minutes, Navas was only unable to be equal to the one moment of magic from the legendary Argentine and otherwise thwarted everything that Ronald Koeman's men could muster.
The key moment arrived on the stroke of halftime when referee Anthony Taylor awarded the visitors a penalty that survived VAR after a Layvin Kurzawa foul. Messi stepped up to spot.
Already confident after thumping into Navas' top corner from distance, the South American went for power to secure a 2-1 lead at the break that would have plunged PSG into deep trouble with the defense in disarray for the entirety of the opening 45 minutes.
Instead, Navas repelled the spot kick and in doing so, changed the course of the game as head coach Mauricio Pochettino introduced Abdou Diallo in Kurzawa's place for the second half and the hosts' backline instantly stabilized.
There was still time for the 34-year-old to come to his team's rescue once more with a flying save from a headed corner, but the damage had already been done in denying Barca a second goal when their rampant attacking looked for all the world like it would crack PSG's resolve.
Navas was joined in his resistance by the likes of Diallo and captain Marquinhos, as well as substitutes Angel Di Maria and Danilo Pereira in rising to the occasion in the second half, but there was no doubt who was the home side's MVP come full-time.
Since his arrival nearly two years ago, PSG's character has come a long way and they are made of stronger stuff than they were in 2017 when they spectacularly collapsed at Camp Nou to bring Barca's Remontada dreams to life. This result is another indicator of a collective shift.
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Sure, it was harsh on the visitors for all they created and Pochettino was seething at halftime because of the way his players were overrun in the first 45, but they endured and emerged with an improbable draw with Navas as the symbol of their resistance.
If PSG can advance past an ailing European giant like Barca over two legs without being anywhere close to their best as a team for almost a full 90 minutes out of 180, no team is going to want to risk going up against them in the Champions League quarterfinals or beyond.
There is work to do, of course, but Navas' brilliance has helped to move Pochettino's men into the last eight and now they can welcome talisman Neymar back and get the likes of Di Maria back to full fitness and potentially starting again.
For Barca too, they can take heart from the manner of their exit in the second leg and know that they did everything they could to create the necessary chances but came up against an incredibly tough obstacle in the three-time UCL winner PSG boast between their sticks.
In a touch of immense class, man of the match Navas even found time to dedicate his penalty save to deny Messi to backup Parisien goalkeeper Sergio Rico who is going through "a difficult time with his family at present" when speaking after the match.
As long as Navas is fit and installed as the last line of defense, PSG always have a chance of emerging from even the most unfavorable of scenarios -- not something that has been said of this team many times in recent years after continued implosion that started against Barca.
Fittingly, Navas may have inspired the Ligue 1 champions to finally end that curse by vanquishing that same nemesis.