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Apr 3, 2013

The first leg of UEFA Champions League at Paris ended in a 2-2 stalemate after PSG secured a last minute equaliser. Messi gave us the lead in the first half and Xavi made it 2-1 in the ending moments of normal time, but it wasn't meant to be a victory after PSG grabbed a deserving equaliser in the end. We may have the comfort of 2 away goals but there were more worries as the injury list keeps on piling up. Lionel Messi was withdrawn after first half due to a Harmstring injury and is all set to miss the return leg at camp Nou. The unfoficial reports say that he will miss three weeks of action. To make matters worse, mascherano picked a second yellow card and now will miss the second leg at Camp Nou. Now that already leaves us one defender short and may have to do with Song in return leg. We went with a very much expected line-up with Valdes in goal. The defense had Alves, Pique, Mascherano and Alba. The midfield had the usual trio of Busquets, xavi and Iniesta. The front three was Messi, Alexis and Villa. PSG lined up with Sirigu, Jallet, Alex, Silva, Maxwell, Lucas, Beckham, Matuidi, Pastore, Lavezzi and Ibrahimovic.

We had a huge slice of luck in the 5th minute when Busquets clearance in a PSG attack luckily struck the post rather than going into our goal. Lavezzi did really well after turning Pique out and Busquets had to stab at the ball to prevent Lavezzi from scoring, which almost resulted in an own goal. In the 9th minute Iniesta send in a lovely ball into the box, which was just a yard away from Villa. In the 15th minute Pastore had go at our goal from outside the box, Valdes could only claim the ball in a second attempt. In the 17th minute Iniesta went in for a curler into the far corner, but the attempt went wide. In the 18th minute Valdes made a brilliant save to deny Ibrahimovic from a free kick from seriously dangerous position. In the 26th minute Lucas Moura broke on a counter with extreme pace and slid the ball to Ibrahimovic , luckily Ibra's shot went wide of the post. In the 37th minute Sanchez had a shot at goal, but Sirigu did well to turn it to a corner. But we went ahead with the resulting corner. The corner was cleared from the box, the ball went to Alves who sent in a great cross picking a brilliant messi run, and Messi made no mistake with the finish, 1-0 Barca. The assist from Dani Alves was quite a beauty. In the 42nd minute Messi cuts inside Silva and tried to curl the ball into the top far corner, went just high. Barca went into the break with a goal ahead and one have to say that was a bit harsh on PSG. They looked really good till that goal. They were the better team but we had a bigger issue to deal at break as Messi looked to have picked up an injury and that was quite a worry.


Tito Vilanova took Messi out and brought in Cesc Fabregas at the start of second half. The initial report was that he has a right harmstring injury. We may have to wait till tomorrow to find out the extend of injury. With Messi absent PSG was ready to push forward a bit more and that gave us some more space to operate. In the 63rd minute Alves found a free Sanchez on the right side, but his first touch was poor and that allowed defenders to close him down. In the 65th minute Sanchez had another chance from a bit more difficult angle but this time he hit it straight at the keeper. The constant pressing in teh first half looked to have taken the steam out of PSG by the 70 minute, and they were quite literally chasing shadows. In the 75th minute Mascherano got into referee's book after he brought down Menez on the edge of our box. That ruled him out of the second leg. In the 77th minute Valdes had to make a brilliant save to deny Ibrahimovic from almost a one on one. In the 79th minute Ibrahimovic equalised for PSG from a free kick, Silva's header came back off the post and Ibrahimovic who was clearly offside finished from the rebound. Tito Vilanova brought in Tello for Villa immdeiately. In the 83rd minute Batra came in for Mascherano who also looked to have picked up an injury and had to be carried off. In the 88th minute we won a penalty after Sirigu brought down Sanchez. Xavi made no mistake with the penalty slotting it into the right corner and taking us 2-1 ahead. Sanchez did really well in getting the penalty after taking the ball off away from Sirigu and the keeper foolishly falling for the trap. In the 94th minute Mataudi made it 2-2 after a shot from outside was deflected leaving Valdes wrong footed and helplessll only to watch the ball roll into the goal to equalise with the last action of the game.

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