Millennium Post

It’s advantage barca!

Blaise Matuidi equalized with the last kick of the match to earn Paris Saint-Germain a 2-2 draw against Barcelona in an eventful Champions League quarterfinal on Tuesday, which saw Lionel Messi limp off injured at halftime after scoring the first goal.

Matuidi took an excellent knock-down from Zlatan Ibrahimovic and hit a low shot from the edge of the penalty area which was deflected and just squirmed under goalkeeper Victor Valdes in the fourth minute of injury time to send the home fans wild after PSG twice came from behind.

Blaise Matuidi’s last-gasp goal saved a more than deserved draw for PSG and helped prove the capital club can compete among the big boys, writes Jonathan Johnson from Paris.

Messi, the four-time FIFA Player of the Year, scored his 57th goal of the season in the 38th minute, then favored his right leg in the final minutes of the first half and was replaced by Cesc Fabregas at the start of the second. Barcelona said Messi will undergo tests Wednesday on his right hamstring.

Barcelona defender Javier Mascherano left on a stretcher in the 84th minute after tearing the medial collateral ligament in his right knee during a collision with teammate Jordi Alba. Already missing injured defenders Carles Puyol and Adriano Correia, Barcelona said Mascherano will be sidelined for six weeks.

‘We’ve paid a heavy price, because we’ve lost Messi, and Mascherano for probably six to eight weeks,’ Barcelona assistant coach Jordi Roura said. ‘Of course it will be a big loss if we lose Messi, the best player in the world. But we have Cesc and other options, so we are confident from that point of view.’

Xavi Hernandez seemed to have sealed the win with an 89th-minute penalty, after Ibrahimovic had canceled out Messi’s first-half goal.

The draw gives PSG some hope for next week’s return leg as Barcelona somehow failed to defend its late lead after Xavi’s goal.

The penalty came after a superb passing move opened up PSG’s defense on the left and Alexis Sanchez ran through before being tripped by goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu. Xavi dispatched the spot kick with all the composure.

PSG had the better of the opening half, letting Barcelona control possession but creating the more dangerous chances on counter attacks. Messi had almost completely contained until Dani Alves set him free in the area with a delicately lobbed pass, and Messi clinically dispatched it  for goal.
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