Football

/ Match report

Powered by ESPNfc
  • Champions League round-up

PSG peg back Barca at the death

ESPN staff
April 2, 2013
Blaise Matuidi scored a potentially crucial late goal for PSG © Getty Images
Enlarge

A last-gasp equaliser from Blaise Matuidi ensured Paris St-Germain claimed a dramatic draw against Barcelona in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final, as Bayern Munich opened up a handy advantage over Juventus on Tuesday.

Matuidi's first-time effort from the edge of the box deep into injury time beat Victor Valdes by virtue of a mild deflection to clinch PSG a 2-2 draw against the Catalan giants at the Parc des Princes.

It looked like Barca would take an advantage back to Spain when Xavi converted from the spot in the 89th minute - after Salvatore Sirigu had brought down Alexis Sanchez - to break the deadlock, not long after Zlatan Ibrahimovic's header against his former club had cancelled out Lionel Messi's opener.

Messi's controlled finish came after a sublime pass from Dani Alves, but the Argentine was withdrawn at half-time after suffering a hamstring injury - and watched from the sidelines as Matuidi made his important late intervention.

Meanwhile at the Allianz Arena, goals from David Alaba and Thomas Muller ensured Bayern defeated their Italian opponents by a relatively comfortable 2-0 scoreline in the first leg of their contest.

Alaba needed just 30 seconds to beat Gianluigi Buffon with a long-range effort that took an unpredictable deflection off a Juventus defender, before Muller was on hand to turn home Mario Mandzukic's second half cut-back, after Buffon had only palmed away another speculative attempt.

Barcelona scored two away goals but were twice pegged back in a dramatic Champions League quarter-final first leg with Paris St-Germain at the Parc des Princes.

The first chance fell to PSG with less than five minutes played. Ezequiel Lavezzi cut inside, sending Gerard Pique sliding the wrong way, and Barca midfielder Sergio Busquets stuck out a foot to stab the ball against the frame of his own goal.

Alex climbed highest to meet David Beckham's corner but headed well wide, and Victor Valdes then dived to save Javier Pastore's low drive and had to scramble to recover the loose ball ahead of the onrushing Alex.

PSG pressed again and when Pique flattened Ibrahimovic just outside the 'D' and was booked, Valdes had to push the Swede's fierce low free-kick around the post.

Ibrahimovic dragged a shot wide after a driving run from Lucas Moura but Barca began to make better use of their possession, with Alexis Sanchez's shot deflected wide before Messi opened the scoring eight minutes before half-time. Alves curled a staggering pass into the box with the outside of his right foot and Messi ran on to the ball and fired first time inside the far post.

The Argentinian curled another effort millimetres over the bar but appeared to tweak his right hamstring in the process and was a passenger as half-time approached.

He was replaced by Cesc Fabregas upon the restart, and a Barca statement released during the second half confirmed he will undergo tests tomorrow to determine the extent of his injury.

Matuidi was booked for fouling Iniesta, ruling him out of the return leg, before Lavezzi was replaced by Jeremy Menez. Alves went close to a goal of his own when he curled a free-kick just wide before Mascherano chopped down Menez to also earn himself a ban.

Menez's free-kick was deflected behind and the resulting corner caused chaos. Jordi Alba and Mascherano collided and were both prone in the six-yard box, playing three PSG players onside as the half-cleared set-piece was returned into the box, and Valdes was forced into a point-blank save from Ibrahimovic's shinned effort.

Barca had to defend the next corner with nine men and the controversy continued even after the pair returned, Thiago Silva heading Menez's free-kick against the post before the rebound was jabbed home by an offside Ibrahimovic.

With a minute remaining, though, a penalty handed Barca the advantage in the tie once more. Sirigu was booked for pulling down Sanchez and Xavi sent the keeper the wrong way from the spot.

There was still drama to come. Ibrahimovic nodded the ball back and Matuidi's shot was squeezed between the legs of substitute Marc Bartra, wrong-footing Valdes and levelling the scores.

David Alaba's early goal changed the course of the contest © Getty Images
Enlarge

Bayern Munich's bid to reach a third Champions League final in four years remains on track after they earned a deserved 2-0 victory over Juventus in the first leg of their quarter-final clash.

However Bayern, runners-up in 2010 and again last year when they lost the final on home soil to Chelsea following a penalty shoot-out, will be wary of getting too confident. In the previous round they beat Arsenal 3-1 away from home in the first leg but were then made to sweat for a place in the last eight after losing the home leg 2-0.

That was Bayern's only setback during a run of 13 wins in 14 matches coming into Tuesday's game though, and on Saturday they moved to within one win of claiming the Bundesliga title with a 9-2 thrashing of Hamburg.

Confidence was flying and and they could hardly have had a better start against Italian title hopefuls Juve at the Allianz Arena. There were less than 30 seconds on the clock when Alaba picked up the ball 30 yards from goal before unleashing a left-footed effort which, after clipping the end of Arturo Vidal's boot, swerved past the hopelessly wrong-footed Gianluigi Buffon and into the bottom corner.

After Juve playmaker Andrea Pirlo saw a dipping long-range free-kick land on the roof of Manuel Neuer's net, the home side started to create a number of good openings. Substitute Arjen Robben, having replaced the injured Toni Kroos moments before, almost marked his introduction with a goal in the 18th minute only to be denied by a fine save from Buffon.

Franck Ribery then saw a shot deflected into the side-netting before Robben fired another great opening wide just after the half-hour. Robben drew another save from Buffon in the 35th minute, albeit a comfortable one, before Bastian Schweinsteiger fired a half-chance over the bar.

Juve's best hope of success looked to be from Pirlo's set-pieces and they almost drew level from one on the stroke of half-time, Leonardo Bonucci glancing a header just over from the veteran playmaker's inswinging corner.

Bayern were employing a shoot-on-sight policy and another effort from outside the box led to their second goal in the 63rd minute. Buffon kept out Luiz Gustavo's shot but the rebound was picked up by Mandzukic and he laid the ball back into the centre for Muller to tap into an empty net.

Jupp Heynckes' side sensed they could all but finish Juve off before the second leg and Buffon needed to be alert to deflect away a thunderbolt from Ribery in the 70th minute.

Buffon then produced a superb one-handed save to deny Muller in the 90th minute and, with the Germany international firing the rebound over with the goal at his mercy, that could yet prove decisive in the second leg.

© ESPN Sports Media Ltd.
Close