Italian Serie A News, Results, Analysis and Features on Football Soccer

John O'Donnell On April - 11 - 2013

Champions League Recap: Barca Need Away Goal To Best PSG

Barcelona advanced to the semi-finals of the Champions League after another draw with PSG meaning they progressed on the away goals rule. They join Real Madrid, Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund in Friday’s draw.

The big news before the game was that despite training with the squad the day before the match Lionel Messi was not fit enough to start so he was on the bench with Cesc Fabregas starting in his place.

In a lively start to the game both teams had chances with Xavi going close after only two minutes when his curling free kick  just brushed the side netting while Ezequiel Lavezzi and Lucas both had shots at goal. The match then got into a familiar style as Barcelona dominated possession without troubling Sirigu in the PSG goal too much while the French side looked to contain Barca and wait for their chance to hit on the counter. The match continued in much the same way for the rest of the first half and PSG were more than holding their own containing the Spanish side and using their pace on the counter with Lavezzi and Lucas both forcing the keeper into saves as the first period ended goalless.

Into the second half and PSG’s good defending and pressing paid off only five minutes after the restart when they won the ball back from Barcelona and Verratti played a ball up to Zlatan Ibrahimovic who used his strength to hold off Adriano before passing to Javier Pastore who then returned it to Ibra and the former Barca man played a great pass back into the path of Pastore who ran clear of the Barca defence and lifted the ball past Victor Valdes to give the French side the lead on the night and in the tie.

After the goal PSG looked the better side and dangerous on the counter with Pastore having a good chance to extend their lead but he shot wide. The French side were beginning to look more threatening until the hour mark when Barcelona had the luxury of looking to the bench for options and finding the best player in the world Lionel Messi. The Argentine was clearly not fully fit but the impact his mere presence on the pitch had on his teammates, their opponents and the crowd was instantly clear.

Barcelona seemed to step up a gear with Messi’s introduction and only ten minutes after he came on they were level and it was no surprise that Messi was involved working his way past 2 players before playing it into David Villa who laid it off for Pedro to hit a great first time shot from the edge of the box into the corner of the net.

With the score at 1-1 and knowing they were going through Barcelona seemed content and despite PSG’s efforts for another goal the Spanish side quite comfortably held out to make it through to the Champions League semi-finals for a record sixth consecutive year.

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