David Ramos

Barcelona vs. Paris Saint-Germain, 2013 UEFA Champions League: Blaugrana come back to go through

The influence of Lionel Messi has pushed Barcelona through to the semifinal. Javier Pastore scored in the 50th minute, necessitating Messi's introduction, but Pedro scored to put Barcelona through on away goals.

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Messi, Pedro guide Barcelona through

The Blaugrana were less than impressive in the first hour at the Camp Nou on Wednesday, but Lionel Messi's entrance inspired Barcelona to an equalizer on the night and an away goals victory over Paris Saint-Germain.

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Pedro pulls Barca back even at 1-1

Update: Barcelona 1-1 PSG, Final score. Barca through on away goals.

It didn't take long for Lionel Messi to work his magic. He helped set-up an attack that led to Pedro Rodriguez pulling Barcelona even at 1-1 on the day. More importantly, Barca are back in control of the aggregate and would advance on away goals if the 3-3 score holds.

Barcelona looked like a different side after the introduction of Messi in the 62nd minute. They immediately earned a corner kick that was taken by Xavi Hernandez, but Gerard Pique's shot attempt off the free kick was blocked. Less than a minute later Andres Iniesta forced a diving save from Salvatore Sirigu who left a rebound right in front of Messi. This time though his touch betrayed him and the chance vanished as quickly as it had arrived.

Of course it was Messi who was directly involved when Barcelona pulled back even in the 71st minute.

Messi's pass into David Villa started the play as the striker was quickly double teamed by the PSG defense. Somehow Villa spotted Pedro who has moved himself into the space created behind VIlla. A subtle little back heel flick from Villa went right to Pedro went sent a buzzing shot that squeezed between Sirigu's hand and the post.

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Messi is in the match with Barca needing a goal

Update: Barcelona 1-1 PSG, Final score. Barca through on away goals.

Lionel Messi may have started today's match on the bench in the hopes that his services would not be needed, but after Javier Pastore put Paris Saint-Germain ahead in the 50th minute, Tito Vilanova has decided to risk his star with his side needing a goal to survive.

Javier Pastore nearly opened up a two-goal lead for Paris Saint-Germain in the 58th minute. Again it was Zlatan Ibrahimovic setting him up with the bass into the area, right to the waiting midfielder who made a mess of his effort, sending it wide of the post.

Messi finally entered the match in the 62nd minute. It's a desperate move no doubt, but unless Barcelona can find a goal they won't be moving on to the semifinals. Vilanova was forced to make another change as well after an injury to Adriano forced the young central defender Marc Bartra into action as well.

Less than 30 minutes left to play at the Camp Nou and PSG are in the driver's seat.

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Pastore puts PSG in front

Update: Barcelona 1-1 PSG, Final score. Barca through on away goals.

Paris Saint-Germain has scored the goal that, honestly, they deserved, five minutes into the second half. Javier Pastore is the goal-scorer, but Zlatan Ibrahimovic deserves some credit for his work in the midfield to help create the chance.

Pastore picked up the ball at the midfield line and played a perfectly timed one-two with Zlatan, moving past the two Barcelona central defenders who were playing an extremely high line. Gerard Piqué couldn't recover and chase down Pastore as the midfielder raced into the Barcelona box.

Victor Valdés went down early and his momentum carried him along the ground and to the left, allowing Pastore to direct a shot back right that moved past Valdés desperate attempt to swat at the ball and found the back of the net.

PSG now leads 3-2 on the aggregate and while there's plenty of time left for Barcelona to fight back, they haven't looked like a team that has it in them. Immediately after the goal went in, Lionel Messi began pulling up his socks on the bench, appearing to prepare to make his entrance.

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No score at the halftime break

It's scoreless at halftime at the Camp Nou as both Barcelona and PSG have had their chances to claim the match's opening goal but neither has been able to capitalize.

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Lavezzi comes close for PSG

Update: Barcelona 1-1 PSG, Final score. Barca through on away goals.

The high energy play continued as the match reach the 30 minute mark of the first half. Both Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain continued to generate chances but the crucial opening goal remained elusive from both sides.

Lucas Moura missed an excellent chance in the 18th minute after receiving the ball in a pocket of space thanks to a nice touch on from Zlatan Ibrahmimovic. The 20-year-old Brazilian's shot was wild though, sailing over the crossbar.

Pedro Rodriguez made a nusiance of himself in the 21st minute forcing a parry save by Salvatore Sirigu on a low cros in from the left. The loose ball was cleared right back to Pedro whose shot went into the side netting.

PSG got their best chance of the game so far in the 24th minute after Zlatan found Ezequiel Lavezzi on the run into the Barca area. Adriano was right on Lavezzi's hip but the striker still got a shot off that forced a nice save from Victor Valdés.

Valdés was called into action again in the 28th minute, denying Moura's header off a brilliant cross from Zlatan on the left side.

The visitors are gaining confidence and coming closer but we'll have to wait and see if they can break the deadlock before the halftime break.

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Open, end to end play in the first 15 minutes

Update: Barcelona 1-1 PSG, Final score. Barca through on away goals.

There's been a fast start at the Camp Nou as both sides look ready to attack and try to get the first goal. Barcelona have looked dangerous through their usual systematic and patient build-up while Paris Saint-Germain caused issues on the counter attack. Neither side found the back of the net in the opening 15 minutes but the potential for goals is certainly there.

Barcelona nearly opened the scoring in the 2nd minute after Cesc Fabregas was hacked down by Marco Verratti, earning a set piece just outside the PSG area. Xavi Hernandez's free kick was ever so close, going just wide of the post and ending hitting the net from behind causing many in the stadium to believe it had gone in.

PSG showed they have every intention of testing Barca's back line in the 4th minute when Zlatan Ibrahimovic moved the ball foward to Ezequiel Lavezzi on the run in towards the goal. Lavezzi stumbled slightly allowing Gerard Pique to recover and tackle the ball away to Victor Valdés.

Andres Iniesta came whisker close in the 12th minute after taking the ball off Verratti in the midfield and catching goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu off his line. Inieta's shot from 40-plus yards floating a bit and went over the crossbar, but it would have been a spectacular strike if he'd been able to keep it down.

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Messi on the bench for Barcelona

Lionel Messi hasn't cracked the Barcelona starting XI to face Paris Saint-Germain, but he is on the bench. The Blaugrana forward injured his hamstring in the first leg of the tie.

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Messi is in, Messi is out, shake it all about

It's been an amusing few days watching the media scramble to report, or create depending on your perspective, about the injury and status of Lionel Messi leading up to today's Champions League match.

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We have questions, does Vilanova have answers?

With Lionel Messi's status up in the air, there are tons of questions surrounding what Barcelona will do today and how head coach Tito Vilanova will line up his attack.

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Why you shouldn't be focused on Messi's injury

Lionel Messi's likely absence from the Barcelona lineup is getting the headlines, but what will ultimately decide this Champions League quarterfinal will happen on the other side of the pitch, where Barca's defense must deal with Paris Saint-Germain's attack.

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Barcelona tie still just about alive for PSG

Barcelona have the lead on away goals from the first leg, but the tie is far from over as Paris Saint-Germain hope to get a result at the Camp Nou.

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Against Barcelona, PSG will find where they stand

Paris Saint-Germain remain something of an unknown quantity despite their array of stars. Wednesday night's performance will go a long way to finding out what needs to be done to take the club to the next level.

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