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EUROPE > Matuidi strikes late to earn PSG a draw against Barcelona

PARIS / MUNICH - Agence France-Presse

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 Paris Saint-Germain's Swedish forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic (C) celebrates after scoring against Barcelona during a Champions League quarter-final football match between PSG and Barcelona at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris on April 2. AFP photo

Paris Saint-Germain's Swedish forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic (C) celebrates after scoring against Barcelona during a Champions League quarter-final football match between PSG and Barcelona at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris on April 2. AFP photo

Blaise Matuidi's goal deep in stoppage time earned Paris Saint Germain a deserved 2-2 draw in in their Champions League quarter-final first leg against Barcelona at Parc des Princes on April 2.

Barca appeared to have snatched the win when Xavi Hernandez converted from the spot in the last minute of normal time after Zlatan Ibrahimovic had cancelled out Lionel Messi's first half opener.

The penalty was awarded when PSG goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu charged out and brought down Alexis Sanchez. 

Messi put the Spanish giants into a 38th minute lead when set up superbly by Daniel Alves.

This was the Argentine four-time world footballer of the year's 57th goal in all competitions this season.

But Messi's night came to a premature end when he suffered a right hamstring injury and failed to emerge for the second half. He is due to undergo tests to determine the extent of the damage on April 3.

Ibrahimovic, who had an unhappy one season spell with Barca, put PSG back in the game when pouncing on a rebound after a Thiago Silva header in the 79th minute ricocheted off the far post.

Then Matuidi popped up in the fourth minute of injury time to give PSG hope for the return leg at the Camp Nou next week.

The big-spending French club's coach Carlo Ancelotti sprang a surprise when electing to start 37-year-old English star David Beckham.

It was the veteran midfielder's first champions League appearance since coming on as a substitute for AC Milan in a 4-0 drubbing by former club Manchester United at Old Trafford in 2010.

Bayern see off Juventus to inch towards semis

Elsewhere, Bayern Munich have one foot in the Champions League semi-finals after their 2-0 win at home to Juventus in the quarter-final, first leg clash.

Munich needed less than a minute to take the lead over the Italians through a thunderous strike by Austria defender David Alaba before Germany's Thomas Mueller grabbed Bayern's second at the Allianz Arena with an hour gone.

With both sides top of their respective leagues, Bundesliga giants Bayern are bidding to reach their third Champions League final in four years while Juventus have won all five of their previous European quarter-finals against German teams.

But Juventus will have to produce a top performance next week if they are to maintain that record as Bayern dominated this match.

Munich coach Jupp Heynckes demonstrated Bayern's strength in depth by leaving Peru striker Claudio Pizarro on the bench -- despite scoring four goals in Saturday's 9-2 rout of Hamburg -- with Mario 
Bayern needed just 26 seconds to take the lead when Alaba launched a left-footed rocket from 35 metres out which gave Juventus goalkeeper Gianlugi Buffon no chance.

The ball took a slight deflection off Juventus' Arturo Vidal on the way to the bottom right-hand corner in what was one of the fastest goals in Champions League history.

Toni Kroos' early groin injury meant Bayern had to shuffle their midfield with Arjen Robben coming onto the right-wing, Mueller moving into the middle with Franck Ribery on the left.

Both Ribery and Robben kept Buffon busy with crisp shots, while Schweinsteiger curled a free-kick just over the top right-hand corner of the goal.

Munich kept up the pressure and the second goal came on 63 minutes when Gustavo fired in a long-range shot, which Buffon parried, but Mandzukic was on hand to square the ball for Mueller to tap in.

There was more bad news for the Italians as midfielders Vidal and Lichtsteiner will both miss the return leg after picking up second-half bookings.

With Munich aiming to become the first German club to claim the treble of domestic league, cup and Champions League titles, Bayern can wrap up the Bundesliga on April 6 if they win at Eintracht Frankfurt.

With seven games left and a 20-point lead, it would be the earliest confirmed title win in the German league's history.

April/02/2013

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