París Saint-Germain - FC Barcelona: Cruel finale in Paris (2-2)
A 94th minute goal from Matuidi gave the hosts a draw after Messi and Mascherano had both come off injured
Barça were cruelly robbed of a win with the final kick of the game when a Matuidi shot ricocheted off a defender to slip through Valdes’ grasp and deny Tito Villanova’s team a well-deserved victory at the Parc de Princes tonight. Barça went ahead in the first half thanks to a goal from Messi, who failed to reappear after the break after picking up a hamstring injury, before Ibrahimovic brought the teams level with ten minutes left to play. Xavi then slotted home a penalty on 88 minutes which appeared to have given Barça a win, only for Bartra to get the slightest of ricochets on a Matuidi shot in the dying seconds and help it past Valdes. It was a cruel end to the game for Barça who also lost Mascherano to an injury that will keep him out for the next six weeks.
All in all, it’s still a good result for Barça, but the injuries and that late goal have left a bitter sweet taste ahead of the second leg in eight days’ time.
PSG start strongly
The hosts came out of the traps the quicker, with Lavezzi rounding off a great individual effort with a shot that Busquets just managed to get enough on for it to bounce back off the post. Gradually, Barça took control of possession, but PSG always looked lively on the break, with Ibrahimovic playing a typical target man’s role and looking for every long ball his team could send him. The Swede also forced Valdes – Barça’s best player early on- into a good save low to his right with a fierce drive from a free kick just outside the box.
Messi goal and injury
Barça’s domination grew as the half continued and as they upped their game and increased the speed and intensity of their passing the chances began to appear, with Iniesta enjoying a couple of long range efforts. Then, on 38 minutes, Barça won a corner. PSG failed to clear it properly and the ball fell to Alves in the middle of the park who hit a wonderful pass with the outside of his foot into Messi’s path - the Argentinean made no mistake and fired home past Sirigu. Unfortunately, soon after the Argentinean pulled up with what proved to be a hamstring injury and he failed to reappear after the break.
With Cesc on for Messi, Barça looked sharp as the second half began, pinning back the French side who only managed to stay in touch into the last quarter of an hour of the game because of Barça’s profligacy in front of goal.
PSG then threw themselves forward for the last 15 minutes and Valdes was called on to earn his keep with a couple of great close range stops from Ibrahimovic. There was nothing he could do about the equaliser though, as the Swede – who was a good couple of yards offside – put away a ball that came back off the post from a Thiago Silva header. The Barça players were unhappy with the decision – particularly as it followed one a few moments earlier that had seen Alba and Mascherano both momentarily off the pitch for a corner after they had banged into each other and needed treatment.
Barça refused to settle for the draw though and continued to probe the PSG defence and on 88 minutes, Cesc and Alexis combined to put the Chilean through, but as he attempted to round Sirugi, the keeper clumsily brought him down. With Messi off, Xavi stepped up to take the penalty and coolly slotted it home to make it what looked to be a definitive 1-2 win, before Matuidi’s dramatic last gasp equaliser cruelly dashed Barça’s chances of a historic victory in Paris.