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UEFA Champions League
3 April 2013
• Parc des Princes, Paris
Referee: W. Stark
• Attendance: 45336
Z. Ibrahimovic 79'
B. Matuidi 90'+
L. Messi 38'
Thank you for all of your messages and comments this evening. It was absolutely brilliant bringing this game to you. Stick around with Goal.com for the reaction and report here in Paris, as well as the goings-on in tonight's other game in Munich. I'm Mohammed Ali, and I'll be back for Rennes-PSG in Ligue 1 on Saturday. A Bientot!
FULL-TIME: PSG have done it! They go to the Camp Nou with a fighting chance next week after Valdes' late error. Calamitous from the goalkeeper, but brilliant for les Parisiens. The Ligue 1 leaders have the momentum too!
90' + 5'
That was the last action of the second half. FULL-TIME! PSG 2-2 FC Barcelona.
90' + 5'
Paris has erupted. A superb game. They may have just the last laugh in the Camp Nou next weekend. What a goal. What an ending.
90' + 4'
90' + 4'
90' + 4'
MATUIDI!! It's 2-2! GOAL GOAL GOAL!!!!! The man suspended in the second leg has given them a dream present. The equalising goal! Superb run by Ibrahimovic, headed into Matuidi - and the powerful shot squeams past Valdes into the goal. Amazing scenes.
90' + 3'
Spare a thought for Thiago Silva - absolutely brilliant this evening. At times, running the PSG defence all by himself. But PSG, especially without the energetic Matuidi at Camp Nou - are staring at the CL exit.
90' + 3'
What can the Ligue 1 leaders do in Catalonia next week? They've got to win, they've got to score at least two as Ibrahimovic is whistled offside again. Ancelotti's men ruing their missed first-half chances.
90' + 2'
The ball's in the net again, as Ibrahimovic fires past Valdes - but he is clearly offside as he hands the assistant referee a powerful stare. Barcelona winding down the clock.
90' + 1'
Into added time at the Parc des Princes. And there'll be FOUR MINUTES.
The writing's on the wall for PSG - as Thiago Silva screams at his players to continue to the final whistle. Messi et al with a little smile on the touchline. They've snuck through.
GOAL! PSG 1-2 Barcelona - XAVI! He's done it! A superb penalty, finding Sirigu go the wrong away. Tucked away in the right corner, and he's given Barcelona the victory.
It's upto Xavi to take this one. Well, well, well.
Yellow CardSalvatore Sirigu
Late drama in Paris as Sirigu races off the ball and catches Sanchez. It is clearly a penalty that. Unbelievable by the ever so composed Sirigu. What a mistake.
PENALTY TO BARCELONA - YELLOW CARD FOR SIRIGU!
Fabregas into Tello, and back into Xavi who is orchestrating play across the midfield. Superb by Fabregas who is advancing.
Yellow CardZlatan Ibrahimovic
Some added time following the recent stoppages in play. Can PSG get the goal that will see them travel across the border into Spain with a victory? Three minutes to go in normal time as Lucas Moura is hounded out by Iniesta.
An absorbing fixture. An enjoyable game. Don't forget to rate the match in Goal.com's matchcentre. Back on the field, and Gameiro with a half-chance, but Alba is the player that is down.
Yellow CardDaniel Alves
A controversial stat - Wolfgang Stark has overseen 5 Barcelona matches in the Champions League. They're unbeaten in all five, including a 4-1 win over Arsenal, the 2-0 semi-final win over Real Madrid in 2011, and the 0-0 draw with Chelsea in the semi-final first leg in 2009.
SUBSTITUTION: Marc Bartra (on) Javier Mascherano (off) - in fact, Mascherano is going off on a stretcher after a poor challenge. Bartra on for the last few minutes.
TV replays show Zlatan Ibrahimovic was arguably offside at that goal after Thiago Silva had slammed the bar with his header. Mascherano down, and Barcelona readying their third substitution.
Well, they've deserved it. No doubt about that. The tie finely poised though Barca ahead on away goals at the minute. Barcelona still rattled by that corner fiasco with the two players down. PSG are in the ascendancy and baying for blood.
A roar goes up by the PSG faithful, and it's an immediate substiuttion from Barcelona - Villa off for Cristian Tello - which brings immediate roars of approval from the Parisian fans!
GOAL! PSG 1-1 BARCELONA! GOAL!! PSG HAVE EQUALISED! ZLATAN IBRAHIMOVIC HAS DONE IT! Superb header on from Thiago Silva, after he had hit the bar, and Ibra has found the net with a bullet of a header!
Well, the referee orders the two players off, and PSG have a corner here with Barcelona defending with nine men. Comical. Menez keeps the ball short, and PSG have been awarded another free-kick following Pique's infringement.
Looks like Javier Mascherano and Jordi Alba took the collision, but Barcelona should've continued there. That's not upto the referee it seems. PSG have a corner, but Barca want the ball back. No way.
IBRAHIMOVIC! Oh dear, just saved well by Valdes - but Barcelona have two players down after a nasty collision. Barcelona are angry that play has been allowed to go on. They had been down for two or three seconds before Ibra's chance.
SUBSTITUTION: Kevin Gameiro (on) Javier PAstore (off) - PSG have a free-kick on the edge of the box. Delivered in by Menez, and headed over by Moura - takes a deflection, and it's a corner.
Alves was down after a challenge from Verratti - and Mascherano's booking sees him SUSPENDED for next week's second leg. Oh dear.
Yellow CardJavier Mascherano
Paris Saint-Germain race forward in anticipation from the counter as Menez dribbles forward, aiming to find Ibrahimovic, but Mascherano fouls him. And that's a booking.
XAVI! Ohh, that lands right on the roof of the net. Takes a sizeable deflection off Alex, and wrongfoots Salvatore Sirigu, but it's a corner to PSG. Dealt with easily this time.
Villa takes a tumble on the edge of the area, and Barcelona have a free-kick right outside. 25 metres out, Xavi and Villa over it. What can the maestro conjure up?
Alves surges forward from the right, intertwining with Fabregas brilliantly, before the Brazilian is denied by the brilliant Thiago Silva.
Verratti gets amongst the mix of things with a fine pass towards Pastore, who tees up Maxwell on the edge of the area. Tight angle, and on his weaker foot, it's a tame effort which doesn't trouble Valdes.
Indeed it is. Marco Verratti comes on for David Beckham for the last 20 minutes. Don't forget to rate this match using the star rating system at the top of the MatchCentre, leave a comment too!
Marco Verratti readying up on the touchline - possibly ending David Beckham's night as Jeremy Menez scythes down Dani Alves. Silly from the ex-Roma star.
DANI ALVES! Superb strike. Sirigu sprawling, but ultimately it curls narrowly wide of Sirigu's goal. The right-back has been fantastic tonight, and that would've capped off a stellar performance.
PSG will have to score here. Don't fancy them taking a result at Camp Nou with a midfield of Verratti, Chantome or Beckham. Matuidi's suspension a big blow.
Yellow CardDavid Beckham
The Barca juggernaut races on as Alba is held off by Jallet - and Beckham with a poor challenge on Sanchez there. That has to be a booking. And it is. Yellow card for the ex-England captain.
SUBSTITUTION: Ezequiel Lavezzi (off) Jeremy Menez (on) - can the France international spearhead a PSG revival - he has 23 minutes to do so.
BOOKING: Yellow card for Blaise Matuidi after tugging away at Andres Iniesta. That means he will NOT feature at the Camp Nou next week. Huge miss that will be for PSG.
Yellow CardBlaise Matuidi
Alexis Sanchez has spurned two chances in the space of two minutes after being fed through by Fabregas. Still, the Catalans look comfortable, as they aim to pick out an opening.
ALEXIS SANCHEZ! Should've been 2-0. Absolutely poor defending. Maxwell out of position as Alves sweeps in from the right, and fires a cross towards Alexis - two touches too many, he sees his effort blocked.
Matuidi leads the charge, with the tireless midfielder combining with Ibrahimovic, and the cross in from the France international is too close for Victor Valdes. Just couldn't locate the striker.
Yellow CardJordi Alba
Second yellow card of the night, and it's for Jordi Alba. Booked for what appears to be a late challenge. Nevertheless. PSG on the ball, but they are unable to keep it for long.
Good challenge from Lucas Moura, who wins the ball and sprays a pass towards Ibrahimovic. The big Swede goes to ground so easily, as Barcelona sweep up the field, and Sanchez sees a shot blocked.
Xavi's corner is too high, but retrieved by Alba who maintains his position and plays it back. Ultimately, it leads to another Barcelona corner, this time to be taken by Xavi. Pique waiitng in the middle. But there's nothing in that, either.
Fabregas races away from Pastore, and the enterprising midfielder finds his way into the penalty box and wins a corner off of Maxwell.
Statistic courtesy of ITV: Ibrahimovic has appeared in 6 quarter-finals, with 5 different clubs, he's appeared in one semi-final, but not a Champions League final let alone a winner's medal!
Jallet too unable to keep the ball after being set through by Beckham. Flick in towards Matuidi, and Pique fires off Matuidi for a goal-kick. Superb play between Matuidi and Ibrahimovic. Superb.
Sto;; PSG 0-1 Barcelona here, as Ibrahimovic runs forward, starting from midfield - but the cross in by Jallet sees him fail with the first touch and be dispossessed by Dani Alves.
Barcelona happy to sit on their lead, and keep the ball at the moment. Xavi, Busquets and Iniesta calmly rolling the ball around before Thiago Silva's mistake allowing Iniesta possession goes unpunished.
Fabregas' attempted shot tackled away by Jallet, and the right-back is forced to defend once more as Alba races forward on the overlap - but he is successful once more. Barcelona content at the moment.
PSG with the counter as Lucas makes progress through the middle. In towards Jallet, but the yellow-orange shirts crowd them out. Iniesta ignites the Barcelona response....
@thoby99 on Twitter: PSG will rediscover there form, d final score will be 2-1 in favour of PSG @RawieElnur on Twitter:. Game without messi is not as nice, But Visca Barca, hopefully more goals.
PENALTY?! NO! Fury from the PSG fans as Mascherano blocks off Matuidi and both stumble towards the ground. Matuidi wasn't going to get the loose ball anyway, but Wolfgang Stark waves away the appeals.
BUSQUETS! Hit very well, but comfortable for the Italian goalkeeper. Xavi takes his time with the delivery, prompting boos. It's hit over everyone before Alba retrieves possession and tees up the midfielder. Sirigu with a good stop.
Fabregas aims to make some space on the right side of midfield, but Thiago Silva watches attentively before blocking the ball away for a corner.
Beckham wins the free-kick and played quickly towards Lucas Moura, with Jordi Alba taking the ball hurriedly. Nevertheless, it's the Blaugrana who continue their upsurge through Iniesta.
Fabregas unable to link up with the midfield ball as Thiago Silva showboats a little - Barcelona are set to be the first side to beat PSG in Europe since Hapoel Tel Aviv in 2006.
Jallet making progress down the right leg, as PSG start the second half positively. Not the best clearance from Alba, as Pastore deflects the ball from the right.
UNDERWAY in the second half - and yes, confirmation - SUBSTITUTION: Lionel Messi (off) Cesc Fabregas (ON) - what do you make of that?
Lionel Messi has NOT returned for the second half. He has been substituted - confirmation on that in a second.
Chace Lorans comments: A 0-0 would have been fairer. PSG's first half performance shows they can reach the final. Unfortunately, Barcelona got lucky again.
@WaZdhaGreaT on Twitter: PSG still have a chance to turn this game around..brilliant pass from Alves,great first half!
That one moment for Barcelona has seen them take a step towards a semi-final. Can PSG rediscover their early form? They've looked rather flat since the goal Continue sending me your messages - via this forum or via Twitter to @mohammedali_93.
What a half in Paris. PSG had been doing so well, matching their Catalan opponents for vast periods of the game. Ibrahimovic's double chance, Lavezzi and Busquets off the post, and Pastore's stinging effort - but it's Barca who enter the dressing room ahead courtesy of Messi's goal from a fabulous Alves assist. All to play for still here at the Parc des Princes.
HALF-TIME: Paris Saint-Germain 0-1 FC Barcelona (Messi, 38')
45' + 1'
Into the ONE ADDITIONAL minute at the end of the first half.
Coming upto the final minute of the half, as Barcelona aim to see the first period out with a fine passing range. Messi looks to have tweaked his hamstring. Will he return for the second half? Barca down to ten at the moment.
Beckham, Matuidi and Ibrahimovic lining up for PSG, as their efforts are blocked at the other end. Barcelona weathering the storm, as Messi appears to be a little fatigued. He's walking a little, as he takes instructions from Vilanova.
MESSI! Almost 2-0! Vilanova with his head in his hands as the Argentine spurns a great chance. Races off the ball past Pastore, and curling a fine effort just over the bar. He's warming up!
Twitter reaction to that goal! @qELzlikkLE comments: what a pass from 'Amber' Alves ; what a finish from Messi!!!! and @gabbyshegs comments: PSG will have themselves too blame if they don't take their chances in this match
Alexis thread through by David Villa and is in acres of space, but he is called offside. Another TV replay of that Messi goal - and it's PSG who are open for a split second. Devastating goal.
Worth noting Daniel Alves' role in that goal. A superb pass from him in towards Lionel Messi. Fantastic half from him so far.
Out of nothing, against the run of play even. It's all gone quiet in Paris. The mercurial Messi turns up to put his side in the lead. Can Barca maintain their position? They're attacking once more!
GOAL! PSG 0-1 BARCELONA! MESSI! He had been anonymous before this, but it's a superb pass from Alves, intowards Messi on the edge of the area. Acute angle, tons of space, and it's a goal. Superb - his 8th of the CL campaign!
SANCHEZ! Good shot from the Chilean on the edge of the area, in on his right foot, cutting in but it's taken a deflection. Corner taken by Barca, cleared by Beckham. But Barca, are on the break again!
Floated corner in by Xavi is headed away easy, towards Alves who appears to be going for the shot, before launching a pass towards Messi. The cross in from the Argentine is also dealt with.
Messi finally given space deep in midfield, and he threads a neat ball towards Dani Alves. The cross in is blocked away by Maxwell, and it's a corner to Barcelona.
Sanchez races down the wing, aiming to tee up Villa who is lurking through the middle, but Alex clears up - albeit at the second attempt. Lavezzi is fouled by Iniesta seconds later.
Moura aims to control the ball well, on the halfway line, but Alba's high foot earns him a free-kick. Beckham to take, in fact he's done alright in the past half-hour to contain this great Barca side.
Oh. Lavezzi is offside. Another run on by Ibrahimovic into the path of the Argentine, but he is again marginally offside. Meanwhile, André Gotti comments: PSG very driven and organized, come on!
Good reaction from Thiago Silva who gets the ball away, before being tripped by Alexis Sanchez inside the box. Free-kick awarded by Wolfgang Stark.
The Blaugrana attempting to penetrate the static Parisian defence once more but they are being restricted to the midfield at the moment. It's been a strong showing from PSG, but Barca are on the rampage.
@H18Khan A goal now would change everything! If PSG scores, Barca is gone but if FCB scores, they will keep on scoring!
Arian Poshka comments: Barca must be more disciplined or they can say bye to the Champions League.
Lucas Moura with a superb lofted ball into the path of Ibrahimovic up front. Mascherano and Alves at the back deal with it, but only after coming off worse following the physical challenge the big Swede imposes.
Barcelona may be leading the possession count 75% to 25%, they may have 233 passes to PSG's 77 but there's no question which team is in front in the French capital as Jallet dispossesses Iniesta and hoofs the ball away.
@Apocalypse1785 on Twitter: Barca is trembling... A goal from Paris and it's all shattered.
Dear me, this is breathless stuff. And this is the PSG side who failed to beat teams such as Sochaux, Stade de Reims, Saint-Etienne et al in recent weeks. Perhaps Leonardo was right, this team was built for Europe!
IBRAHIMOVIC! What a chance for PSG. Superb counter attacking football after Alex makes the challenge at the back, allowing Lucas Moura to perform the break. Into Ibrahimovic, who holds off his marker and scuffs his shot slightly. Dear me.
@ekambironald on Twitter: Hope PSG is going to play like this till the end of the match!! because if they slow down! Barça will show them!!
Xavi, Alba and Iniesta slip in passes on the left, as they look to keep PSG at arm's length for the minute. They aren't able to keep onto possession, bringing boos from the Parisien faithful.
Iniesta! Good stop by Sirigu from the shot at the edge of the area as Vilanova looks on pensively. Barcelona are yet to assert their authority here.
SUPERB TACKLE BY THIAGO SILVA! Lionel Messi attempts to work his magic, dribbling past players in the box, but the PSG captain at the death pulls off an important tackle to get the ball away. Ibrahimovic counters against Pique, but can't force through a move.
What do you make of the first 20 or so minutes? Can PSG capitalise on their good start, or will Barcelona ascend? Tweet me @mohammedali_93, or on the Goal.com matchcentre chatbox to your right.
Busquets loses the ball, but PSG advance through Lavezzi who advances after Sanchez becomes the second Barca player to give the ball away cheaply. Into Pastore, but the first touch was awful. Barcelona all over the place at the back.
Looking at that Ibrahimovic free-kick, Valdes saw it late, going down to his right with a one-fist save. Superb. Matuidi lunges in on Busquets, and the referee ticks him off only.
VALDES! SUPER STOP BY THE GOALKEEPER! It's Ibrahimovic over it, and the sheer power sees it rip through the wall, and parried away by Valdes. A wonderful stop. Corner to PSG, and it fizzles out for an offside call.
Beckham, Moura and Ibrahimovic all over it. Who will take it? It's 25 metres out, and a fantastic chance for PSG.
Well, Barcelona are conceding free-kicks, left right and centre. Ibrahimovic runs at the heart of the Barca rearguard, and Pique takes him down right on the edge of the box. A yellow card - and Beckham stands over it. Well.
INIESTA! Great chance, and it wasn't too far away. Alves a constant threat on the right, and his innocuous cross is headed away, but only towards Iniesta, whose curling shot was a whisker away.
Quarter of an hour in, and almost no sign of Lionel Messi. The cheers go up as PSG defend a threatening situation at the other end. Confident tackling all round as Alves is dispossessed.
PASTORE! Fantastic shot, and a good save by Valdes at the second attempt. Beckham's delivery headed on by Lucas, and kept in by Ibrahimovic. The Swede feeds Pastore on the edge of the area, and lets fly from distance - it's thwarted though.
Moura and Jallet intertwine on that right-flank, but Wolfgang Stark awards PSG a free-kick once more after Moura goes down under the challenge of Busquets who scythes down the Brazilian. Beckham-territory anyone?
PSG have a corner here, taken by Beckham but Alex's bullet header flies well wide of Valdes' goal. TV pictures cut to Tito Vilanova on the Barca bench - 10 weeks after undergoing treatment in New York. Welcome back Tito!
Alexis Sanchez starts the Barca move, which sees Alves and Villa perform a one-two. Villa loses out, as Pique is forced to race forward. Ibrahimovic dispossesses his former team-mate, and it brings cheers from the PSG fans.
LAVEZZI! Ah, it's offside. Fantastic dinked pass by Lucas Moura as PSG press their opponents. The Brazilian's pass into the path of the Argentine is marginally offside, but Lavezzi's shot palmed away by Valdes nonetheless.
Iniesta and Messi combine outside the edge of the box, as the former slides in a through ball towards David Villa, making a run in the PSG box. Sirigu clutches gratefully, however.
XAVI! Not a great shot from the Barca midfielder. Alves finds Messi on the edge of the area, and into Xavi - but the Spaniard's shot rises well wide over Sirigu's bar.
TV replays show that Lavezzi chance was fired towards goal unwittingly by Busquets as he struggled back to deal with the chance. Almost an own goal, and it's PSG who are currently on top.
PSG fans sing enthusiastically following that chance. Messi with a fine pass into Alexis Sanchez, who finds Alba on the overlap. Brilliant run by the left-back, and his cross is headed away by Silva.
What a chance for les Parisiens and they've continued their surge up the field, buoyed by that chance. Pastore is unable to keep possession as Xavi gets the ball away. The noise levels have increased!
OFF THE POST! OFF THE POST! Chance for PSG after a wonderful build-up. Lavezzi with the chance as he catapults a shot from a brilliant one-two. It's off a Barcelona defender, but cannons off the post at the second opportunity!
Mistake by Matuidi almost allows Barcelona in, but PSG have settled on the ball as they attempt a cross-field pass. Alba with a slight push, but he's gotten away with it as PSG advance.
Good movement by Alexis Sanchez who is stopped in his tracks by Christophe Jallet at the back. Ezequiel LAvezzi tripped, and Lucas Moura also goes down under the challenge of Busquets soon after.
@KyleLago on Twitter: PSG to win it 2-1. Goals from ibracadabra and prince beckham for psg, villa scores for Barca.
The ball's in the net, but it's no goal. Daniel Alves races in from the wing, after a brilliant one-two, but is unable to get past Maxwell, who he fouls in the build-up. Free-kick PSG.
Boos go around the stadium as Mascherano almost teeters on the ball as Ibrahimovic and Lucas Moura look to pounce. Barca have already settled into their passing rhythm.
UNDERWAY IN PARIS! Barcelona get us started, attacking from left to right, in their away strip. PSG in their famous Rouge et Bleu. Let's hope for a cracking game.
ICI C'EST PARIS! is the reverbarating call as referee Wolfgang Stark takes the sides through the pre-match formalities. David Beckham - who would have thought it?
@djxtian20 on Twitter: PSG 2 barca 0 - Ibrahimovic is gonna show them what he is capable of doing live
The teams are out - and THAT UEFA Champions League anthem goes around the Parc des Princes. What an occasion. Messi, Ibrahimovic, Beckham, Iniesta, Xavi et al on show. FIVE MINUTES!
Chris comments on Goal.com's matchcentre: Barcelona wins 2-1. Who agrees? Keep the tweets/messages coming!
@KareemPuff44 on Twitter: PSG 3-1 Barca Beckham comes up big with 2 goals! - as an Englishman, that could be just the tonic after England's failure to provide any quarter-finalists!
It's been such a beautiful day in Paris, as the fans begin to congregate in the south-western area of the city. Can we get a brilliant match to top off the day? Predictions - send them via Twitter to @mohammedali_93 and I'll put your comments up!
TEAM NEWS: David Beckham makes a CL return, as Ancelotti goes for an attacking 4-4-2. In come Lucas Moura (return from injury) and Ezequiel Lavezzi (rested) from Friday's game against Montpellier. It's a strong bench too from the French outfit as Marco Verratti misses out. For Barcelona, Victor Valdes returns, as do Jordi Alba and Xavi - both were injured at the weekend as Iniesta, Busquets and Villa make starting returns.
FC BARCELONA: Valdés, Alves, Piqué, Mascherano, Alba, Xavi, Iniesta, Busquets, Villa, Sánchez, Messi SUBS: Pinto, Bartra, Montoya, Fàbregas, Alcántara, Song, Tello.
PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN: Sirigu, Silva, Alex, Maxwell, Jallet, Matuidi, Pastore, Lucas, Beckham, Lavezzi, Ibrahimović SUBS: Douchez, Sakho, Van der Wiel, Ménez, Chantôme, Verratti, Gameiro.
So...back to tonight - David Beckham STARTS FOR PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN! Big news for the ex-England captain, as he is handed his first UCL start since 2010. Can he make the difference?
Barcelona's overall away record against French opposition is W3, D2, L2. Their most recent visit to France resulted in a 1-1 draw against Olympique Lyonnais in the 2008-09 Champions League round of 16 - but they've always scored away to Ligue 1 sides in Europe. Barcelona have only won three of their last 14 away games in the knockout stages of the Champions League.
A few statistics before tonight's fixture: The only previous Champions League encounter between PSG and Barcelona was in the quarter-finals in March 1995. The French club won 3-2 on aggregate. Paris Saint-Germain are on a 23-match unbeaten home run in European competition stretching back to a 4-2 defeat against Hapoel Tel-Aviv in the Uefa Cup group stage in November 2006. The Catalan giants have won their last six Champions League quarter-finals and their last defeat at this stage came against Juventus in 2002-03.
And Barcelona assistant Jordi Roura: "They are quick on the break and strong in the air, especially with Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Thiago Silva, but those are just two of their options: they have a lot more tricks in their bag. We'll have to adapt a bit, of course, but we won't change the way we play, although we have studied their game carefully."
Let's hear from the coaches, tonight. First, Carlo Ancelotti is confident of his side's strengths: "We may not have a lot of possession but as soon as we get the ball I want my team to show character and inspiration to go forward and score. We have defended very well so far this term and we've done well on the counter-attack. This is what we want to do [tonight] because we'll need it if we are to get a good result."
Barcelona meanwhile, failed to overcome Celta Vigo in this weekend's La Liga encounter, but they remain 13 points clear of Real Madrid. It was a record-breaking night for Lionel Messi, scoring against every other side in the league consecutively. Can the Argentine shine tonight? Tweet me @mohammedali_93 with your views.
On the domestic front, PSG lead Ligue 1 by seven points from nearest rivals Olympique de Marseille, but they limped to a 1-0 win over Montpellier on Friday evening. They've made no secret about it, with the French side boasting that they play better in Europe. They've yet to face a true heavyweight though, with their European adventure so far taking in FC Porto, Dynamo Kiev and Dinamo Zagreb before facing Valencia.
Tonight, nevertheless, brings added motivation for Barcelona with the news that Tito Vilanova, the head coach who took time off to recover in New York following treatment returns to the Blaugrana bench. Furthermore, French left-back Eric Abidal has also travelled with the squad, as he nears a first-team return following his own health scare.
Meanwhile, Barcelona embarked on a tougher road. A shock 2-0 defeat at the San Siro against AC Milan brought howls of 'crisis' from football fans the world over, before in true champion style, they hit back at their critics with a fine 4-0 mauling over the Rossoneri in the second leg to seal a 4-2 aggregate success.
How did they qualify, I hear you cry? PSG faced Spanish opponents in the form of Valencia in the round of 16, where a narrow 2-1 win in the first leg, was complemented by a stale 1-1 draw in the second. Zlatan Ibrahimovic missed that game three weeks ago, but returns tonight after his two-match ban was halved by UEFA's Disciplinary Commitee upon appeal. He wouldn't have wanted to miss this for the WORLD!
Meanwhile, the Barcelona juggernaut hits the City of Light for the first time since a glamour August friendly in 2012. Both the Blaugrana and les Parisiens played out a scintillating 2-2 draw, before the Catalans won 4-1 on penalties. But scoring two here tonight, would see them take a major step at yet another last four berth.
Yes, Carlo Ancelotti's men have come on leaps and bounds ever since being taken over by Qatar Sports Investments in the summer of 2011. More than €250 million in transfers later, the side face Barcelona as they seek to qualify for the semi-finals of the Champions League for the first time since 1994-95. Can they make Wembley however? That in itself, is another question.
Well. There may be various other intriguing match-ups when the draw for the Champions League quarter-final was made two weeks ago. But instantly, what stands out is the 2011 winners, leaders in La Liga, and the team many regard to be the best in the world travelling across the Franco-Iberian border to face the side that hope to emulate them one day. Who would've thought, that Paris Saint-Germain, would see this day so soon.
Firstly, let me introduce myself. I'm Mohammed Ali, and I'll be guiding you through tonight's encounter. Feel free to send me your messages, comments, musings and opinion throughout via three ways. Firstly, take advantage of the Goal.com Match Centre. Send in your comments in the all-new chatbox to the right, and interact with fellow football aficionados. Also, send us your messages via Twitter to @mohammedali_93. Brilliant
Good evening, and welcome to Goal.com's LIVE! UEFA Champions League coverage. It's the glamour tie. The tie of the round! Paris Saint-Germain take on FC Barcelona in a star-studded Champions League quarter-final here at the Parc des Princes in Paris. We should be in for an absorbing match.
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