Barcelona vs PSG Champions League QF first leg: PSG 2 Barca 2

Matuidi scores stoppage-time equaliser for PSG

Paris St Germain pulled back a 2-2 stunning draw against Barcelona in the Champions League quarter-final first leg played at the Parc des Princes in Paris on Tuesday.

Messi extended his goal record, drilling in the first goal in the 39th minute off an Alves pass from the edge of the box.

Qatari-backed Paris St Germain's mission to be considered one of Europe's top clubs faced their toughest test on Tuesday.

The wealthy French club, under experienced coach Carlo Ancelotti, began well to keep the Spanish men under check.

Going into Tuesday's tie, as underdogs for the first time this season, they did well not to concede another goal before half time.

Barcelona had to be content with a 1-0 half time lead despite an impressive ball possesion.

PSG clawed back in the seond half as Messi was called off with Fabregas being brought in to impact the game.

In the game that ensued both teams had their fair share of yellow cards which included star players of both the teams.

Beckham, had his share of yellow too and was immediately substituted with Veratti replacing him.

"They (Barcelona) have an amazing team but I think we deserved the draw tonight," said PSG midfielder David Beckham.

"We're in a better position now than we were at 2-1, and there's no reason why we can't go there and get a result," he added.

"We had a few good chances in the first half & if we'd have put one those away it could have been a different story.

"A draw was deserved. We always knew it would be a game where they were going to have a lot of possession."

PSG pulled back in 79th minute as Barcelona lost two men in head on collision and had to stay away for five minutes off pitch for medical treatment.

PSG required just that to sqeeze in the equaliser of the boots of Ibrahimovic.

But Barcelona stormed in the 89th minute with the oncoming PSG keeper Sirigu getting a yellow bringing down Sanchez in the danger zone.

PSG laboured hard to squeeze in the equaliser through Matuidi in the additional five minutes for a 2-2 final match score.

"We’re happy with what we produced against the best team in the world. There's a tough return leg. We’ll do our best," said PSG's Matuidi.

"We're happy with what we produced against the best team in the world. We showed Paris could be great," he told BBC.

"We played a fantastic game. We were unlucky to concede the first goal because we created chances in the first half," said Ibrahimovic.

Barca went in front seven minutes before halftime when Dani Alves produced an exquisite pass with the outside of his right boot straight into the path of Lionel Messi who drove the ball in with his left foot from an acute angle.

World Player of the Year Messi then sustained a hamstring injury and had to go off at halftime, replaced by Cesc Fabregas.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic gave PSG a lifeline when he scrambled in the equaliser after a soaring header from Thiago Silva hit the post in the 79th minute.

Xavi calmly restored Barca's advantage from the penalty spot after goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu rushed off his line in the 89th minute and brought down Alexis Sanchez.

Matuidi then struck with the last kick of the game as his long-range shot eluded the outstretched fingers of keeper Victor Valdes.

Midfielder Matuidi and Barca defender Javier Mascherano were booked and will miss the second leg at the Nou Camp on April 10 through suspension.

David Beckham became the first British player to appear for four different clubs in the Champions League when he was named in the starting lineup.

The former England captain did well in midfield before he was taken off midway through the second half.

HAPPY BECKHAM

"I think we deserved a draw tonight," Beckham told ITV Sport. "There's no reason why we can't go there and get a result.

"I was very happy, the manager (Carlo Ancelotti) has always shown confidence in me. Tonight was a big moment for the club - it doesn't get much better than these nights."

PSG, unbeaten at home in all competitions since November 17, went for Barca's throat in the opening stages but were not rewarded for their efforts.

They went close in the fifth minute when Javier Pastore chested an Ibrahimovic pass into the path of Ezequiel Lavezzi who struck Valdes's right post.

Lavezzi wasted another good opportunity five minutes later, shooting straight at Valdes after collecting a brilliant through ball from Lucas.

Pastore then fired a powerful low shot that forced Valdes to dive to his right.

The Spain keeper was at full stretch again as he stopped Ibrahimovic's 20-metre free kick.

Barca only had Andres Iniesta's curling shot - which went wide - to show for their silky passing as PSG stamped their authority on the game.

Thiago Silva thwarted the dangerous Messi as the Argentine dribbled his way towards goal before Lucas released Ibrahimovic and the Sweden striker's low shot went wide.

Lucas's dazzling runs were a nightmare to handle for Barca but it was the visitors who took the lead.

Messi was in acres of space 12 metres out and he beat Sirigu to notch his eighth goal in this season's competition.

PSG seemed to be running out of steam when Ibrahimovic, looking suspiciously offside when Thiago Silva hit the woodwork, levelled from two metres.

Xavi was coolness personified as he wrong-footed Sirigu from the penalty spot to put Barca 2-1 up but Matuidi sent the crowd wild with delight with his late goal.

FULL TIME

Champions League

Quarter-final (first leg)

Result 2-2 draw

Paris Saint Germain

Ibrahimovic 79" Matuidi 90+4"

TOTAL SHOTS ON TARGET


PSG 4 Barcelona 5

BLOCKED SHOTS


PSG 3 Barcelona 6

SHOT ACCURACY

PSG 45.5% Barcelona 55.6%

Barcelona

Messi 38" Xavi 89" (pen)

A stoppage time equaliser from Blaise Matuidi keeps PSG's Champions League dreams alive at the Parc de Princes on April 2 in Paris.

Barcelona return to Spain with a slight advantage in the tie after Tuesday night's score of 2-2.

A dramatic stoppage-time strike from Blaise Matuidi cancels out Xavi’s earlier penalty to give PSG a lifeline.

93" GOAL FOR PSG! Matuidi slams in the equaliSer with valdes fingers touching the ball into the nets to equalise in the dying moments of the game.

92" PSG's Silva to Ibrahimovic with Barcelona blocking all attempts

90" The referee adds four minutes of stoppage time.

A turn of events for PSG as Barcelona back in the lead. Ibrahimovic slams in the ball into the net in an offside position.

89" GOAL! Xavi gives Barcelona the lead slotting the ball into the right of the net.

87" Sirigu gets a yellow with Sanchez on the ball conceding a penalty to Barcelona.

86" Ibrahimovic yellow carded for an aerial tussle with Fabregas.

82" As the game progresses both teams have collected a fair share of yellow cards. Barcelona press on.

PSG sent in three replacements and finally were rewarded as Barcelona lose their lead under unfortunate circimstances.

Gary Lineker tweets: "Only just offside!" (@GaryLineker 2m)

79" GOAL FOR PSG! Barcelona trying to hold their line as PSG finally finds the mark with Ibrahimovic heading in the ball off a free kick putting the ball off the crossbar.

78" Two players are now off the pitch exposing Barcelona.

76 minute .. two barcelona players down in danger zone as Ibrahimovic takes a rasping shot missing the target.

74" Mascherano gets a yellow for diving. Game proceeds with Alves in some sort of injury trouble.

72" A clumsy challenge on Villa at the edge of the box with Xavi's freekick being deflected over the roof of the net.

71" Barcelona regroup for another counter attack but the ball is slammed to the midfield by Silva.

70" PSG on the offensive with Maxwell missing the mark in the danger zone.

68" Beckham out as Veratti replaces him.

67" Beckham gets YELLOW CARD for a bad challenge on the edge of the box. Alves takes the free kick to send the ball left missing the target.
 
64" Fabregas latches on to a mispass but fails and in the ensuing tussle Matuidi gets a YELLOW CARD for dangerous tackle on Iniesta.

63" A anxious PSG bench look as the French giants attempt to topple their world class opponents.

62" Barcelona in complete command but fail to break the defence, with a interception from Silva to  Ibrahimovic.

61" YELLOW CARD for Alba

59" PSG's Silva has been exceptionally doing well  to keep the odd ball out of play from the danger men of Barcelona.

58" Corner kick for Barcelona with Xavi shooting over the to Alba but ball put out of play for another free kick

57" Ibrahimovic gets the ball but is surrounded and loses it to Iniesta

55" Barcelona look to find the gap with Inesta in the danger zone but blocked by Alex to send the ball in for a flighted shot to Lavezzi.

54" Alba sends a cross to Fabregas but well intercepted by Maxwell.

52" Maxwell to Jallet snatched by Alba in the midfield. The ball now in Barcelona's possession.

50" The free kick results in a feeble shot drilled from the centre to the oncoming PSG keeper.

49" Fabregas in front of the net but is blocked well for a corner kick taken by Xavi.

47" PSG's Jallety on the ball with Barcelona defenders on him.

46" Jodi Alba plays the ball off the sideline for  a throw-in for PSG. First sign of PSG pressing in without Messi now.

Cesc Fabregas in for Messi in the second half.

A lift for PSG, because Barcelona without Messi is half the team.

Former England and Barcelona striker Gary Lineker has tweeted: "Messi is off with what appears to be a hamstring strain. Messi is human. How disappointing!" (‏@GaryLineker14s)

Interestingly PSG have come back five times after trailing in a Champions League match (to win or draw). Two of the five comebacks were against Barcelona.

HALF TIME

Barcelona get on top 1-0 against PSG after Messi scores a crucial away goal in the 37th minute.

Messi scored his first goal in Paris, setting a new Champions League record of scoring in 20 different cities. He surpasses Raúl, who is on 19.

This is his 48th goal in the Champions League and 57th of the season.

Lionel Messi has now scored 10 Champions League goals in the quarterfinals, equal to record holder Raúl.

Messi's goal for Barcelona means he is now the first player in Champions League history to score in 20 different cities.

The bad news for Barcelona is Lionel Messi appears to have picked up an injury issue just after scoring against PSG.

45" PSG look to grab the ball but fail resulting in a free kick for Barcelona.

One minute added to half time but PSG fail to restore parity.

44" Barcelona in possession in the midfield. Iniesta taps a pass to Messi who flicks to Alves.

43" PSG look to get their first substitution as Barcelona press for another goal with Messi strking form.

41" Xavi, Messi and Alves who passes the ball back to Messi who dashes towards the post shooting inches wide off the mark.

37" GOAL
! Messi drills in the ball off an Alves pass from the edge of the box.

34" Best chances coming away for the home side PSG. Barcelona pressing with an ugly foul in the midfield area.

32" Barcelona in possesion of the ball. Alves to Inesta but a giveaway pass to PSG.

27" Barcelona's Messi is surrounded by the PSG denying him any room, Lucas wins the ball.

24" In a swift counter attack Ibrahimovic  surges ahead but his flick to the right fails to get PSG's booth.

23" Messi and Inesta lead the attck again with Barcelona having possession in the danger zone.

21" Messi in the danger zone but loses the ball with a long pass to Ibrahimovic from the defence, but he fails to hold on to the ball.

20" PSG turning on the pressure on Barcelona with defence falling back under the counter attack.

18" PSG on the offensive with Ibrahimovic taking the third free kick deflected for a corner.

17" Pique awarded a yellow for bringing down Ibrahimovic, freekick again for PSG

13" Lucas brought down and awarded a free kick with Alexs header missing the target for PSG.

A warning for Sergio for bringing down Jallet free kick awarded with Pastore slamming the ball off a Ibrahimovic pass.
 
The ball jumps the keeper gloves but safely recovered by the alert goal stopper.

Arsenal midfielder Mikel Arteta has tweeted "Whatching PSG vs BARCA, two of my old clubs... What a great stadium Parc Des Princes is,great memories!!!" (‏@m8arteta3m)

12" Lucas brought down and awarded a free kick with Alex's header missing the target for PSG.

10" Alves, Pique torment the PSG defence. but Beckham wins the ball to send it across to Lucas.

9" Iniesta tries to find Villa in the area, but the pass is just outside of the striker's reach.

7" Barcelona exposed once again in deep defence with Alves pushing the ball out of play in the midfield.

4" PSG press to get ball control with Lavezzi almost sliding in the ball nicking the post in the early moment on the game.

Barcelona kick off with Xavi on the ball.

Both teams shake hands and move on to take their positions on the field.

The French League leaders set to clash against the Catalan giants.

The teams gather now in the tunnel to march onto the field.

The match is about to kick-off and the fans in the Paris stadium are already in a frenzy mood.

Paris Saint Germain continued their march towards the Ligue 1 title with a 1-0 win over reigning champions Montpellier, but they face a whole new test as they try to crack Europe's elite competition by taking on Barcelona today.
 
Barcelona's preparation might not have been perfect - a 2-2 draw at Celta Vigo at the weekend - but they will be confident of overturning PSG at the Parc Des Princes, though they will have to be wary of not underestimating their opponents.
 
PSG are most certainly the underdogs. This is their first CL quarter-final since facing Barcelona back in 1994, and nerves might get the better of them as a result.

Latest signing David Beckham, who joined PSG on a five-month deal in January, believes that PSG can match Barcelona in today's game.

"It's great to be playing in the Champions League fold. I started playing Champions League for a few years and it's good to be back. It doesn't get dramatic than this!," said the former England star in a pre-match interview.

TEAM NEWS

PSG's Zlatan Ibrahimovic is freed to face his former club after the two-game ban he was given in the first leg of the last 16 tie against Valencia was reduced to one match.

Barcelona will be without Pedro who is suspended for this tie having picked up three yellow cards in the Champions League this season. The winger also sat out at the weekend through injury.

MATCH FACTS

PSG are undefeated in their last six matches in the Champions League (including qualifiers).

Barca with their sixth appearance intriguing in the Champions League quarter-final first leg will look to put behind their past defence lapses with their manager Tito Vilanova's return to the dugout for the first time after two months in New York receiving cancer treatment.

Former England striker Michael Owen has tweeted "Great that Beckham starts for PSG tonight. Torn between watching the team I've backed for the tournament (Bayern) or the PSG v Barca game." (michael owen‏@themichaelowen3m)

STAT ATTACK

Barcelona are appearing in their 15th European Cup quarter-final and have won their last six quarter-final ties.

PSG are unbeaten in 23 home games in Europe and have only lost once in nine home ties vs Spanish opposition.

Barcelona set for their 59th Champions League game since 2008/09. A record.

Lionel Messi will feature for the 56th time during that period.

This is the probable formation.

PSG 4-2-2-2 Barcelona 4-3-3

Messi with 43 goals to his credit this season emerging on top of the list will look to stretch his goal record.

Barcelona go into Monday's match with impressive stats in their favour, they surpass PSG in ball possesion and pass sucess rates.

Beckham starts for PSG vs Barcelona.

It's his first Champions League start since February 16, 2010.

Teams

Paris St Germain: 30-Salvatore Sirigu; 26-Christophe Jallet, 13-Alex, 2-Thiago Silva, 17-Maxwell; 29-Lucas Moura, 32-David Beckham, 14-Blaise Matuidi, 27-Javier Pastore; 11-Ezequiel Lavezzi, 18-Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Barcelona: 1-Victor Valdes; 2-Dani Alves, 14-Javier Mascherano, 3-Gerard Pique, 18-Jordi Alba; 16-Sergio Busquets, 8-Andres Iniesta, 6-Xavi; 7-David Villa, 10-Lionel Messi, 
9-Sanchez

The Barcelona team is down on the ground with Xavi looking ahead to the warmup.

It would be interesting to watch Messi and Ibrahimovic in action in this thrilling match.

Qatari-backed Paris St Germain's mission to be considered one of Europe's top clubs faces its toughest test yet when they host Barcelona in an intriguing Champions League quarter-final first leg Monday. 

PSG, who saw off Valencia in the last 16, believe however that this could be a turning point in their climb to the peak of the European game. 

The wealthy French club, under experienced coach Carlo Ancelotti, are on course for their first domestic title for 18 years as well as being in the last eight of the Champions League after an 18-year absence.
 
They go into Monday's tie, however, as underdogs for the first time this season . 

Tito Vilanova's return to the dugout for the first time after two months in New York receiving cancer treatment during which his assistant Jordi Roura has been in charge could well charge the team. 

Latest signing David Beckham, who joined them on a five-month deal in January, believes that PSG  can match todays game. 

Thiago Silva said the tie was "the game we all were dreaming about" and the expensively purchased trio will have to raise their level to the heights if PSG are to stand any chance of winning. 

"This club have high aspirations. We want to go as far as we can in all competitions," the former England captain said earlier this week. 

"It's obvious that we have the players for it. There's no doubt we have the mentality. Now, it's up to us to prove it on the pitch.  

"Or course, it will hard, but very exciting too," added Beckham. 

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