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Match Analysis: Paris Saint-Germain 2-2 Barcelona

Match Analysis: PSG 2-2 Barca
© AP Photos
Sports Mole looks over an entertaining first leg between PSG and Barcelona in the Champions League quarter-final.

Blaise Matuidi's deflected effort in the final minute of stoppage time earned Paris Saint-Germain a draw against Barcelona in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final this evening.

It looked as if Barcelona were taking an away win to the Camp Nou after Lionel Messi and Xavi Hernandez scored either side of Zlatan Ibrahimovic's equaliser.

However, Matuidi struck with the last kick of the game to send PSG to the Camp Nou next week with realistic hopes of knocking out the giants.

Here, Sports Mole pores over a thrilling match in the French capital.

Match statistics:

PSG:
Shots 12
On target 7
Possession 37%
Corners 4
Fouls 13

Barca:
Shots 15
On target 8
Possession 63%
Corners 7
Fouls 12

Was the result fair?

Yes. Barcelona had more possession of the ball but they always do. PSG were excellent from the first whistle and were very unfortunate to go in behind at the break. In the end it was a very fortunate goal that brought them level before a silly decision from Salvatore Sirigu gave Xavi the chance from the spot. That seemed to have killed off Parisian hope but they rallied and struck late to keep their hopes of progressing alive.

PSG's performance

Carlo Ancelotti's side were energetic from the word go and unsettled Barcelona, not allowing them much space on the ball. Their pace up front with the likes of Ezequiel Lavezzi and Lucas Moura had the visitors' defence extremely frightened and will be a threat on the counter in the return leg. David Beckham was a surprise starter and he played a fairly safe game in the holding midfield role, spraying passes to others and marshalling in front of the back four.

Barca's performance

Tito Vilanova's men were ahead through a truly remarkable goal created by Dani Alves's miraculously outside-of-the-boot pass that fell perfectly for Messi to volley home. Unfortunately for the visitors, Messi had to go off injured at half time and their attack was a little blunter in the second because of his absence. Still, they looked good for an away win until the linesman failed to recognise that Ibrahimovic was offside when Thiago Silva headed against the post. The Barca defence is awash with talent but they always seem to be undone by quick countering teams as full-backs Alves and Jordi Alba get forward whenever they can. This will be a worry for Vilanova in the second leg.

Sports Mole's man of the match

Thiago Silva: The Brazilian centre-back isn't just mighty physically but he also reads the game incredibly well. He broke up many a Barca attack with his intelligence and also won the header that led to Ibrahimovic's equaliser. The award could have also gone to Lucas Moura for his blistering display that worried Barca on many occasions.

Biggest gaffe

Ibrahimovic wins this award for his all-round performance. Yes, the Swede scored a crucial goal but he was offside and it should never have been given. Before that he miscontrolled often and spurned good chances on the PSG counter. Not the big man's finest night in a navy shirt.

Referee performance

Wolfgang Stark himself generally had a good game but the worst call of the night was made by his assistant, who failed to realise that Ibrahimovic was offside for the first equaliser. Some will frown on Stark for awarding Barca a penalty, but the German wasn't given much choice because of the contact made by Sirigu, even if Sanchez did writhe horribly.

What next?

PSG: Next up for PSG is a trip to Rennes on Saturday before the return leg at Camp Nou next Wednesday.

Barca: Barca have another home game against Mallorca ahead of next Wednesday's second leg.

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Paris Saint-Germain's Zlatan Ibrahimovic celebrates after scoring the equaliser against Barcelona on April 2, 2013
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Live Commentary: PSG 2-2 Barca - as it happened
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