Paris SG 2 FC Barcelona 2

psg 2-2 barça messi goal 2013A last gasp strike from Blaise Matuidi denied Barça victory over Paris Saint-Germain in a bruising encounter at the Parc des Princes tonight. PSG gave Barça plenty of headaches and had the better chances in the opening half hour though Leo Messi broke the deadlock near the end of the first half to put Barça in front. Shortly after, Messi pulled a hamstring and he didn’t appear for a second half that was generally controlled more by Barça. With just over ten minutes remaining Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored a disputed equalizer from an offside position and the game looked set to finish one a-piece. Xavi’s penalty in the last minute of normal time seemed to have given Barça the win, but then near the end of the fourth minute of injury time Matuidi fired home with the help of a deflection to leave the tie all square at 2-2 with the second leg at Camp Nou next Wednesday. The news on the extent of Messi’s injury will have to wait until tests tomorrow though it is believed he could be out for three weeks while Javier Mascherano will be sidelined for four to six weeks with a ligament injury.

psg 2-2 barça vilanova 2013Tito Vilanova returned to the bench for the first time in over two months while both Jordi Alba and Xavi Hernandez were considered fit enough to start. The main doubt before the game was who would accompany Leo Messi up front and in the end Vilanova opted for Alexis and David Villa, though neither player would show their best version, as Barça lined up with Valdés, Alves, Piqué, Mascherano, Alba, Xavi, Busquets, Iniesta, Alexis, Messi and Villa. PSG coach Carlo Ancelotti had a surprise in his team selection with 37-year-old David Beckham starting in a double midfield pivot alongside Blaise Matuidi, with the French side starting with Sirigu, Jallet, Alex, Thiago Silva, Maxwell, Lucas Moura, Beckham, Matuidi, Pastore, Lavezzi and Ibrahimovic.

psg 2-2 barcelona busquets postPSG looked far the more dangerous team early on. After just five minutes Pastore chested the ball down for Lavezzi who was allowed too much space by Piqué, as Lavezzi came face-to-face with Valdés, Busquets stretched to get his foot to the ball and was fortunate not to score an own-goal as the ball bounced out off the post. Barça were failing to do much with the possession with the only early attempt on goal coming from a hopeful 25-yarder from Xavi that went wide.

psg 2-2 barcelona ibrahimovic piqueIbrahimovic was getting the better of his early battles with the Barça defence. In the 14th minute the big Swede kept possession on the left before laying the ball back to Pastore whose low shot wasn’t held by Valdés who had to be quick to spring up and pounce on the loose ball before Alex could get to the rebound. Not long after Ibrahimovic turned Busquets and ran straight at Piqué who was drawn into the foul and the game’s first yellow card. From the free kick Zlatan fired low and hard and Valdés had to be alert to make a good diving save.

Thiago Silva was looking very strong in PSG’s defence, robbing Messi the first time he entered the penalty area, though Barça’s first real chance came when the Brazilian defender’s headed clearance went straight to Iniesta who hit a curler that went just wide. However, there continued to be more danger near Valdés’s goal, with the speedy Lucas Moura causing plenty of problems. Twice the PSG young Brazilian broke and then found Ibrahimovic in dangerous positions, the first time Ibrahimovic pulled his shot wide of the far post and the second time Alves got back well to intercept the danger.

psg 2-2 barcelona messi goal 2013Barça’s attack was looking less dynamic. Villa played through the middle but had little service besides one pass from Iniesta that was out of his reach, while Alexis stuck to the left side and besides one shot that hit Alex he created little danger. This changed in the 37th minute when Barça put together their most fluent attack. Messi found Iniesta who played the ball on to Alexis on the left, and then as Alba made the decoy run outside, Alexis cut inside and his deflected shot won a corner. Xavi took it from the left and PSG won the first two headers to clear the ball from the area. However, the ball only came as far as Alba who headed the ball square to Alves who, spotting a gap in the left of PSG’s area, sent a brilliant pass with the outside of his right foot for Messi to run onto and the four-time Ballon d’Or winner finished with a cross-shot inside the far post.

It was more than Barça deserved and Messi might have grabbed a second four minutes later. However, this time his shot whistled just over the bar and Messi winced in pain as he felt his hamstring go. The remaining minutes of the first half had the bizarre spectacle of Messi standing over by the touchline talking to Vilanova as his team-mates kept possession to see out time till half time. During the break it was decided that Messi could not continue and Cesc Fabregas came on in his place.

The second half was a more controlled affair. Piqué and Mascherano both improved and began to win their battles and it seemed that Valdés might gain another clean sheet in Paris after his excellent performance for Spain against France last week. However, Barça’s forwards continued to create little headway and it had to be the tireless Alves who began to find cracks in the PSG defence.

In the 63rd minute the Brazilian full back got forward to send a cross to Alexis in space at the far post but instead of hitting the ball first time Alexis chose to control which gave Alex the chance to knock the ball away. Two minutes later Fabregas crossed to give Alexis another chance, this time he chose to hit it first time but his contact wasn’t great and Sirigu made a comfortable save.

At least the chances were coming at the right end and next Alves tried his luck with a dipping free kick that went narrowly wide. Xavi also came close when his free kick clipped Alex’s head and looped just over the bar while PSG’s only shot on goal came from Maxwell though Valdés saved easily by the post.

The game was beginning to look comfortable but Barça’s luck began to change in the 75th minute with a sequence of events that led to PSG’s equalizer. It all began when PSG continued an attack with Alves down on the ground injured after receiving Veratti’s studs. The attack continued to Menez on the left and Mascherano was drawn into a foul which earned a suspension incurring yellow card. From the free kick Busquets headed the ball out for a corner and when the cross came in towards Thiago Silva at the near post both Alba and Mascherano ended in an injured heap inside the penalty area. PSG continued playing and four players were left onside by the two injured players, the ball came to Ibrahimovic and Valdés made an enormous save to put the ball out for a corner. Both Alba and Mascherano needed treatment and German referee Wolfgang Stark refused to allow the players to return when PSG took the corner, and Barça, playing with two players off, were only capable of giving away another free kick. Alba and the limping Mascherano were allowed back on, but from the free kick Thiago Silva won the header which crashed against the post falling nicely to Ibrahimovic who was a clear yard offside when Silva headed the ball, but the linesman’s flag inexplicably stayed down and Ibra had an easy job to knock home the equalizer.

The goal put life back into the home side and the final minutes returned more to the pattern of the first half. Tello and Bartra came on for Villa and the injured Mascherano and with five minutes remaining I don’t mind admitting I was happy to take the 1-1 draw. Alves had to be quick at the back to mop up after Ibrahimovic’s flicked header but the French side were breathing fire again.

Then as the clock ticked towards the 89 minute mark Iniesta sent a pass forward, Fabregas flicked the ball into the area and Alexis, chasing what looked like a lost cause, made contact with Sirigu as he charged out of his goal and Stark pointed to the penalty spot. I have to say that in real time it looked as though Alexis had looked for the contact but Sirigu was probably foolish to get caught out like that. With Messi absent Xavi took the responsibility and coolly sent Sirigu the wrong way with the penalty.

There was one final act. Four minutes of injury time were indicated. Well into the 94th minute Jallet lobbed in a cross from the right, Ibrahimovic easily beat Alves to the header, nodding the ball down to Matuidi whose shot clipped Bartrá leg, throwing Valdés off balance, and despite getting his fingers to the ball the Barça keeper couldn’t prevent the ball from crossing the line.

psg 2-2 barça fly emiratesWhile the late equalizer is very frustrating the result can still be seen as a very good one to take to next Wednesday’s second leg. What is more worrying is that the performance was in line with our recent away games with the team failing to find the intensity that they showed in the 4-0 home win over Milan and on so many other occasions in the last five years. There may have been some bad luck in the two goals conceded but Valdés and the post saved Barça in the first half and we have now conceded sixteen goals in the last nine away games. We now have to make do without Mascherano for a month or more which leaves us very short at the back while Messi will undoubtedly be missed in attack. Despite the negatives we are on the verge of a record-breaking sixth consecutive Champions League semi-final while leading La Liga by 13 points. Why is it then that I get the feeling that all is not well?

Paris SG: Sirigu; Jallet, Alex, Thiago Silva, Maxwell; Lucas Moura, Beckham (Verratti m70), Matuidi, Pastore (Gameiro m75); Lavezzi (Menez m67), Ibrahimovic

Barça: Valdés 7.5; Alves 8, Piqué 6, Mascherano 6.5 (Bartrá m84, –), Alba 6; Xavi 6.5, Busquets 6, Iniesta 6; Villa 5.5 (Tello m80, –), Messi 7 (Fabregas m45, 5.5), Alexis 6.

Goals: m38 Messi 0-1, m79 Ibrahimovic 1-1, m90 Xavi (pen) 1-2, m94 Matuidi 2-2.

Yellow cards: m18 Piqué, m61 Alba, m65 Matuidi (misses 2nd leg), m68 Beckham, m75 Mascherano (misses 2nd leg), m85 Alves, m87 Ibrahimovic, m89 Sirigu.

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19 Responses to Paris SG 2 FC Barcelona 2

  1. layibiyi says:

    This was a painful game, the advantage would have really helped going into the next week game, considering the absences. I’m just happy to see Tito back though (you didnt say much about that)

    Like Pep and many other have said, you need many things, in addition to talent to work in your favor: referees, luck, injuries, luck, scheduling, luck, form and conditioning peak period, luck etc

    So are we expecting to see Bartra start next week? Many decisions to make, I hope Tito is ready. I think the attack did ok without messi. If not because of sanchez’s continuing misadventures in front of goal, we might have had a 2 goal advantage. Iniesta and Xavi will need to have more impactful in the return leg for us to have a good chance.

    Motm – Alves!

  2. Caleb says:

    There’s definitely a certain je ne sais quoi missing from the team. I agree that everything doesn’t seem quite right even though we’re in a good position at this stage of the season.

    How much more solid could we be at the back if we had someone like Thiago Silva. Bartra doesn’t strike me as ready. Or maybe it’s that he doesn’t pair that well with Piqué. If only Abidal’s recovery was a bit more advanced . . .

    I still think we have every chance to go through. Our attack didn’t look that bad without Messi. I’m layibiyi in saying we need Xavi and Iniesta to put in much better performances next game.

    Oh well, at least we’ve enjoyed a team that has set such high standards that a 2-2 draw away, at a stadium where no one has beat the home side for a very long time, seems like a mediocre result. We’ve been spoiled and even if this season doesn’t end perfectly I’m proud of the team and its legacy.

  3. bc9jaCule says:

    My pick of the game was that parabolic Alves’ pass to Messi which led to our first goal – just WOW! The final scoreline is respectable but still kinda frustrating because of the timing, but we still can’t complain too much because they (PSG) could have scored 2 goals from their other attacks. We could even have conceded an own goal from Busquets’ clearance that hit the foot of the post in the first half. At the end of it all, we had some good luck and some bad ones too but I think the lucks evened out. My only concern is the fact that shorter defenders than ours get to head the ball in our 18-yard box. I mean, how could Silva be so comfortable heading the ball with a much taller Pique just ball-watching? PATHETIC – WE REALLY NEED TO WORK ON THAT!

    A 2-2 away draw aint bad @ all & I just hope we can cope with the painful absentees forced upon us through injuries & get a favourable result that will see us through in the return leg @ Camp Nou.

    Godspeed Messi, Mascherano & Puyol!

    Visca Barca!!!!!
    Forca Barca!!!!!

  4. barcacentralnic says:

    It seems Messi’s injury is not so bad. The club has just announced he will definitely miss the game with Mallorca and decisions will be taken from there according to his recovery. Not sure if this gives him a possibility of playing in the second leg (it may just be to keep PSG guessing)

  5. barcacentralnic says:

    A muscle strain rather than a pulled hamstring. The club says he’ll be out for 7-10 days

  6. Fredegar says:

    “Why is it then that I get the feeling that all is not well?”
    Well, I get the same feeling for two reasons: first, it will be very difficult to go on if decisions continue to go against us in every important game. This offside goal adds itself to the two penalties against Madrid and the volleyball style “block” on the first Milan goal, that’s starting to get under my skin…
    And second, because the first point won’t even matter if we can’t find a way to defend at least correctly once in a while. This second goal is just unforgivable. 94th minute and Alves finds himself defending on Ibra with Matuidi in acres of space, while we have four players in our area just watching them? I swore very loudly… This kind of very very stupid mistakes cost us the qualification last year against Chelsea, but seriously, if we beat PSG and have to play in Munich, I fear that we will get a spanking of biblical resonance if we defend this way. And as we have defended this way all season long, I don’t see what we can do about it now…
    But then Alves’ pass made my night, a thing of beauty!

    P.-S.: Sorry if I haven’t commented in a long time, big changes in my life let me with a lot less time on my hands, but I never stopped following you guys! Get well soon Leo, and bring on the second leg!

    • barcacentralnic says:

      Hi Fredegar,Glad to know you are still with us! As for Bayern I have to agree they are looking very strong but before thinking about possible semi-final opponents we have to get through the second leg. The 2-2 draw may be a good result but PSG showed enough quality to suggest it won’t be easy next Wednesday.

    • layibiyi says:

      Well, that’s 2 rare sightings
      – a fredegar comment, nice to see you 🙂
      – a cule in this era of dominance being ‘afraid’ of some other club

      • Fredegar says:

        Yeah Nic, sure, first things first, and getting past Paris won’t be easy with only half a team fit. And as I don’t trust our defense to keep a clean sheet, I wonder who will score the goals as at the moment, Alexis, Fab and Villa don’t seem to have one in them.
        And layibiyi, I’ve been “afraid” of plenty of clubs these last seasons, but yeah it’s been a long time since I haven’t considered us at the very least a match to any opponent. But my view of the reality is that this year, at least two teams left in the draw (Real and Bayern) are playing better (and with some margin in Bayern’s case) than we do. Not to say we can’t beat them, and certainly not to say that I won’t support my team to the tilt!

        • layibiyi says:

          ‘afraid’ to the level of a ‘biblical spanking’?

          • Fredegar says:

            Well, mostly I thought it sounded well 😉
            But yes, if we get the chance to play in Munich, if Bayern are on and we are not, as has happened a few times this last month, I feel we could easily concede four or five goals, with no guarantee to score any at the other end. Maybe not biblical, but it would certainly resonate! But Nic’s right, let’s think of Paris first, and then we’ll see, I’ve not lost all hope in my team and on paper, we’re still good enough to win anywhere!
            Visca Barça!

  7. FCBarcelonaRocks says:

    We really need to see Abidal…it would be such a blessing if he is still the same Abi we all know on the pitch before the op

  8. barcacentralomer says:

    I missed the match due to work commitments the following morning, from most of the match reviews I’ve read it turns out we were kind of lucky to eventually get away with a draw and 2 away goals. However the injuries to Messi and Mascherano are significant. Firstly, how do you replace the best player in the world? Even if he does manage to make it for the second leg could we exposing him to the risk of sustaining a long-term injury by coming back before attaining full fitness.

    The Mascherano injury is bad luck but then the Barca think tank should’ve considered this when they decided to go into the season with only 3 proper CBs with one of them in the twilight of his career. Bartra and the other young defenders ATM are not good enough to play for the Barca first team or at least not in the CL . Our best chance is going to be a recovering Abi filling in at CB and perhaps even that might be wishful thinking considering he’s not even made any sub appearances of late. PSG should be commended for putting in a very good performance and Thiago Silva looks like another one who didn’t show up on our scouting radar until it was too late.

  9. Caleb says:

    Nic, what do you think of Barça lodging an official complaint with UEFA regarding Stark’s performance?

    • barcacentralnic says:

      Caleb, first I think it’s important to point out that the complaint is not about Stark’s performance but about his failure to apply the regulation that says if two players from the same side are injured then play must be stopped. I couldn’t get very indignant about this at the time but that’s because I’m afraid I wasn’t aware of the regulation either. But if that’s what the rules say then a Champions League referee should know.
      So to sum up, normally I would not agree to a complaint over refereeing decisions as I feel you have to accept that he might not see a foul, a handball or an offside, but not knowing the actual rules of the game is something else entirely and therefore I think the complaint is justified. Imagine if a referee didn’t know the number of substitutes allowed or how many minutes for each half or that the goalkeeper can use his hands!

      • Caleb says:

        I agree that the technical reasons fueling Barça’s complaint seem entirely legitimate.

        Do you think there could be negative repercussions for Barça’s image on a popular level since the average football fan seems either unwilling or incapable of understanding the actual details of the complaint?

        At a more broad level, how heavily should public opinion weigh on Barça’s decision making process given the global nature of the sport and the ever increasing importance of an international fan base?

  10. cftc10 says:

    Reblogged this on cftc10.

  11. Pingback: FC Barcelona vs Paris Saint-Germain: Champions League Quarter Final 2nd Leg Preview | barçacentral

  12. Dennis says:

    Messi must miss tomorrow match

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