By JUSTIN FERGUSON
While Paris Saint-Germain celebrated a 50th-minute goal from Javier Pastore, Lionel Messi began to warm up on the sideline at the Nou Camp.
Even with a hamstring injury that kept him from starting the match, Messi played a part in the equalizer that punched Barcelona’s sixth straight ticket to the UEFA Champions League semifinals.
Barcelona advanced past PSG on away goals Wednesday after a thrilling match that ended 1-1. The Catalans, who drew with PSG 2-2 at the Parc de Princes last week, tilted the series back in their favor with a 71st-minute equalizer from Pedro.
Meanwhile, Bayern Munich got their second straight 2-0 win over defending Serie A champions Juventus. The newly crowned Bundesliga champions controlled their Italian hosts in every aspect of the match on Wednesday as they continued their dominating run through all of their competitions.
Although the Messi-less Barcelona offense dominated the possession battle and shot the ball more in the first half of their match, PSG looked like the more dangerous team from the beginning. The visitors forced Victor Valdes to make seven saves in the match. Ezequiel Lavezzi, Lucas Moura and Zlatan Ibrahimovic each had quality looks at grabbing the lead in the first half, but Valdes was able to keep them out for the first 45 minutes.
But the longtime Barcelona goalkeeper was unable to deny Javier Pastore shortly after the second half began. Pastore received a well-placed pass from Zlatan Ibrahimovic and slotted the ball past a diving Valdes for the goal.
Messi came on in the 62nd minute for Barcelona’s replacement number nine, Cesc Fabregas, to the delight of the home crowd. His pass to David Villa nine minutes later set up the series-clinching goal, a vicious top-corner strike from Pedro.
As Messi was making his way onto the field in Barcelona, Bayern Munich were ensuring their place in the semifinals.
After an hour of keeping Juventus from cutting into their 2-0 lead from the first leg, Bayern grabbed an away goal off of a Mario Mandzukic header. Gianluigi Buffon got a hand on a Javier Martinez volley off of Bastian Schweinsteiger’s free kick, but the veteran Juventus goalkeeper could do nothing about Mandzukic’s rebound.
Claudio Pizarro capped off another convincing victory for the newly crowned German champions in stoppage time with a close-range strike. Bayern have now compiled 11 straight road wins across all competitions, a streak that goes back to November’s 1-1 group stage draw at Valencia.
Here are the match highlights:
BARCELONA 1, PARIS ST. GERMAIN 1
JUVENTUS 0, BAYERN MUNICH 2
I think it’s about time to get rid of the away goals advantage. PSG played very well and deserved better. The away goals rule was established to create better games with more attacking right? Well, it killed this game once Barcelona scored who were content to sit on the lead, but you can’t blame them for that. Rules like this that are created for certain purposes don’t always go according to how they were designed. No need to get cute with it. 3-3 aggregate score? Play extra time, determine a true winner.
+1, not a fan of the away goals tie breaker. ET would make for much better, exciting, and fair finishes to all the UCL, UEL and CCL games so far…
Problem is, ET often just leads to PKs, which are then worse than having decided by away goals in the first place…
I enjoy the away goals rule, as it creates an added layer of tension to games in a way that doesn’t exist in many other sport or tournaments. It also often makes teams push for an away goal in the first leg, when they may otherwise just sit back and hold on for 0-0.
I do agree that two ties seems like a bad way to resolve it. Would it be possible to only have the away goal if the first leg is a victory. Ex 1-1 and 2-2 would lead to Extra time, but 1-0 and 1-2 would not.
In Issue Zero of “The Blizzard”, Ian Hawkey has a very good essay on why to get rid of the away goals rule. He argues that the away goals rule makes for too defensive an approach for home sides. The rule came to be in an era when travel to away games was brutal, think about riding a bus from Madrid to Milan in the 1960’s. With the advent of really good jets and proliferation of airports, playing on the road in European matches is no longer so difficult. I would have preferred PSG-Barca & Bayern-Arsenal to have played out. As an aside, I’ll take a game that ends in PKs over away goals or its predecessor: the coin flip.
+1 I hate the away goals rule makes absolutely no sense and could be argued that the rule is just as arbitrary as a coin flip. And, yes, penalty kicks might not be perfect, but at least PKs depend mostly on skills and nerve from both the GK and the kicker and is a far better solution.
These sentiments against the away goal change once they benefit the teams of those who complain
Does anyone else find it a little annoying how many websites (particularly non-soccer websites) say Messi won the game for Barca? I’m a big fan of Messi, and no doubt he had a hand in the goal, but it’s pretty disingenuous to claim “Messi lifts Barca past PSG” (see Fox Sports)
I don’t know. Barcelona were listless without him. He single handedly changed the game. He got the ball and beat several defenders before threading the pass into the box that resulted in the lay off for the shot that scored.
No. Messi’s sub clearly changed the flow of the game. He started immediately drawing 2-3 defenders and PSG instantly became vulnerable at the back. Certainly it’s a team sport, and the layoff and finish were fantastic, but Barca loses that game if Messi doesn’t come on.
Also, PSG had like 4-5 great chances to end this game. Barca still only squeaked out the tie.
Nothing exaggerated there except perhaps if they actually say he or Barça “won” the game played today…
One man team!
Quite disappointed by Juve in this round honestly, thought they would perform a bit better especially at home. Getting beat 4-0 in aggregate is not entirely what I expected in this matchup. They are a real striker away from being back in Europe
I was actually impressed Juve got this far, didn’t think an Italian team would make out of the group stage.
Messi writes the history books with stuff of legend.