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Barcelona battle back to edge through to Champions League semi-finals

Updated 11 Apr 2013 08:52:15

Barcelona battle back to edge through to Champions League semi-finals

Barcelona advanced to the semi-finals of the Champions League for the sixth consecutive year after battling back to draw 1-1 with Paris Saint Germain and go through on the away-goals rule after the tie finished 3-3 on aggregate.

Javier Pastore gave the visitors the lead early in the second half but Pedro cancelled the goal out with 20 minutes remaining, helped by the appearance of Lionel Messi, who began the match on the substitutes' bench after injuring a hamstring in the first leg.

The Catalans were far from their usual brilliant selves without Messi and met their match in a disciplined and intelligent PSG, who afforded them little space and caused a lot of problems on the counter attack.

Xavi almost gave the hosts the dream start from a 30-yard free-kick, but his effort went just inches wide of the near post.

Barca did not create another chance until 21 minutes, when Pedro forced a low save from Salvatore Sirigu and the ball fell to the forward again, who hit the side netting.

Ezequiel Lavezzi then missed PSG's best chance of the half, forcing his way into the area but poking his shot straight at the legs of Victor Valdes.

PSG went ahead when Zlatan Ibrahimovic played Pastore in with a wonderful ball to the left-hand side and the Argentine surged forward ahead of Barca's line of defence, controlled the ball and slotted into the net, the ball bouncing off Valdes on its way into the corner.

Dani Alves had a chance to equalise shortly after the goal, but blazed over the bar, and then Pastore could have doubled the lead, but scuffed his shot wide from close range after a pass from Ibrahimovic.

Messi was brought on in place of Cesc Fabregas, while Adriano, on a yellow card and carrying a knock, was replaced by Marc Bartra.

Barcelona levelled 20 minutes from time and it was Messi who created the danger on the edge of the area as he tried to play in David Villa. Instead the ball was scuffed only as far as Pedro, who lashed the ball into the top corner.


PA

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