Barcelona, Bayern into Champions League semis
PARIS / TURIN - Agence France-Presse
Barcelona players celebrate at the end of the Champions League quarterfinal second leg soccer match between FC Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain FC at the Camp Nou stadium in Barcelona, Spain, Wednesday, April 10, 2013. The match ended 3-3 on aggregate with Barcelona going through on away goals. AP photoBarcelona and Bayern Munich completed the Champions League semifinals line-up on April 10.
The Catalans survived a huge scare from Paris Saint-Germain to qualify for the Champions League semifinals for the sixth successive season on away goals after a 1-1 draw at the Camp Nou.
The 2-2 draw between the pair in last week's quarter-final first leg had handed the advantage to the Catalans, but with star player Lionel Messi only starting the return as a substitute due to a hamstring injury, they seemed nervous throughout and PSG deservedly went in front just after half-time through Javier Pastore.
However, with Messi summoned from the bench, Pedro fired home 19 minutes from time to send Barca into the last four.
Even without their talisman Barca came within inches of the perfect start when Cesc Fabregas was brought down 25 yards from goal a minute in and Xavi's resultant free-kick scraped the post on its way past.
Thereafter though the first-period belonged to the visitors who capitalised on Barca's uncharacteristic slackness in possession to take a stranglehold of the game.
Ezequiel Lavezzi was first to test Victor Valdes in what was to be a busy 45 minutes for the Barca 'keeper with a shot straight down his throat and Gerard Pique had to show good pace and strength to prevent Lavezzi a clear run on goal moments later.
As the half wore on PSG posed the greater threat with Lucas Moura's pace in particular causing problems for a makeshift Barca defence.
The Brazilian saw a fierce strike from outside the area well handled by Valdes, before he and Lavezzi both wastefully shot over when well-positioned.
Lavezzi then had the biggest chance of the first-half as he latched onto Zlatan Ibrahimovic's through ball, but his prodded effort lacked the power to beat Valdes who comfortably blocked with his feet.
The goal that PSG had been threatening all night finally arrived five minutes after the break as an excellent one-two between Pastore and Ibrahimovic sent the Argentine in behind the Barca defence and this time there was nothing Valdes could do to keep out his left-footed finish.
Pastore missed a great chance to register his second of the evening eight minutes later from another lightning PSG break, but this time he scuffed wide from 12 yards.
Alves then had Barca's best chance up to that point of the evening as he blasted over when unmarked at the back post before Messi replaced Fabregas to a huge ovation.
Messi's arrival instantly forced Barca onto the front foot and, after Pique had a shot blocked, Iniesta forced Sirigu into his first serious save with Messi unable to control the rebound.
Pastore dragged another shot wide at the other end as PSG maintained a threat on the break, but the Parisians were made to rue their wastefulness in front of goal as Barca equalised on 71 minutes.
Inevitably, Messi was involved as he jinked past a couple of defenders and rolled the ball into Villa who laid it back for Pedro to smash home.
Bayern with class
In Turin, second half goals from Mario Mandzukic and Claudio Pizarro sealed Bayern Munich's Champions League semi-final place with a classy 2-0 win over Juventus.
Juve were sorely exposed by the newly-crowned German champions in a 2-0 defeat in last week's first leg of their quarter-final clash.
However, Antonio Conte's side put up a better performance before hope faded when Mandzukic headed past Gianluigi Buffon in the 64th minute after the 'keeper had saved from Javier Martinez.
As Juve lost bite in the closing stages, Pizarro capitalised on some sloppy defending to beat Buffon two minutes into injury-time to leave the Italian giants with a 4-0 aggregate defeat.