PSG comes back twice to draw 2-2PARIS - Paris Saint-Germain showed it has the guts to go with the wallet as the ambitious big spenders twice came from behind to salvage a 2-2 draw at home to four-time champion Barcelona in the first leg of their eventful Champions League quarterfinal on Tuesday.
Blaise Matuidi’s deflected shot crept into the net in the fourth minute of injury time to provide a bit of hope for PSG ahead of the return leg at the Camp Nou - especially as Barcelona could be without Lionel Messi after the Argentina forward limped off with a hamstring injury at halftime after scoring the opening goal.
PSG has spent over 250 million euros ($320 million) on transfers in a bid to join Europe’s elite clubs, and although it still faces a huge task to qualify, it at least showed that it has enough spirit and determination to unsettle Barcelona’s slick passing game.
The team’s two superstar strikers canceled each other out in a frenzied atmosphere at Parc des Princes, with Messi putting Barcelona ahead with his 57th goal of the season before his injury. Zlatan Ibrahimovic replied for PSG before setting up Matuidi’s last-gasp equalizer in the final seconds.
The Catalans will be annoyed at not going home with a lead, however, after Xavi Hernandez’s 89th-minute penalty looked certain to seal victory, but goalkeeper Victor Valdes allowed Matuidi’s deflected strike to squirm under his body and over the line.
Barca, which remains the firm favorite, will also be missing center half Javier Mascherano for the return after he went off on a stretcher near the end after rupturing knee ligaments. He faces six weeks out.
PSG will be without Matuidi for the return leg as he is suspended. But Messi’s possible absence would give PSG greater reason to hope, especially with Ibrahimovic likely to be up against a depleted defense.
“It’s going to be tough there but it’s not going to be impossible,” PSG midfielder David Beckham said. “Ibra can cause any team problems when the ball is played up to him, he is so strong and physical.”
with the Korea JoongAng Daily
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