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Barcelona vs. PSG: Score, Grades and Post-Match Reaction

BARCELONA, SPAIN - APRIL 10:  Gerard Pique of Barcelona jumps on his team mates as they celebrate Pedro of Barcelona scoring the equalising goal during the UEFA Champions League quarter-final second leg match between Barcelona and Paris St Germain at Nou Camp on April 10, 2013 in Barcelona, Spain.  (Photo by David Ramos/Getty Images)
David Ramos/Getty Images
Timothy RappFeatured ColumnistApril 10, 2013

Somehow, Barcelona always finds a way to win. Sure, Lionel Messi started on the bench. Sure, PSG had the better chances early and eventually took the lead in the opening moments of the second half.

But once again, Barcelona found a way to advance, as Pedro's game-tying goal would send the Catalans to the Champions League semifinals in a 1-1 draw. 

Both teams came out of the gate aggressively, trading scoring opportunities early. Barca failed to convert two free kicks just outside the box while Ezequiel Lavezzi curled an early shot directly into the arms of Victor Valdes and later looked to be clear on a breakaway, only to be converged upon by the Barca defense.

Lavezzi was brilliant early, as he would be set free on goal again after Zlatan Ibrahimovic sent him running into the box. But Lavezzi's first touch was just heavy enough that he could only try to nick the ball past Valdes, and the keeper once again came up with the save.

PSG kept pressing. Ibrahimovic chased down a ball on the left side and lofted a cross to Lucas Moura, whose header was pushed above the bar by Valdes.

The game remained scoreless at the half, but it wasn't for a lack of excitement. Both sides could take positives away from the first 45 minutes—Barca held 62 percent of possession and established the rhythm of the game, while PSG had the best chances and looked fully capable of exploiting the Catalans' back line.

PSG would strike first in the second half. Javier Pastore was sent forward on a break for PSG and finished brilliantly, chipping past Valdes to give the Paris side a vital lead. If the game held, PSG would move on.

Barca continued to press, swarming the box in a five-minute period that culminated with Andres Iniesta curling a shot toward the goal that Salvatore Sirigu denied. The PSG defense held steady for the time being.

And Pedro would equalize not long after.

Lionel Messi broke down two defenders—yes, he was subbed in to save the day—and found David Villa in the box, who nicked the ball back to Pedro and set up the equalizing goal. Barcelona was back in the driver's seat.

PSG would threaten, but the savvy Catalans held steady, earning the 1-1 tie that would send Barca through 3-3 on aggregate since Barca held a 2-1 advantage in away goals.

 

Grades

Ezequiel Lavezzi, PSG: A-

Lavezzi was absolutely brilliant in the first half, pressing forward and exploiting the gaps in Barcelona's defense. While he wasn't as threatening in the second half—and he didn't actually manage to score in the first 45—Lavezzi was the most dangerous player on the pitch for long stretches of this game.

 

Victor Valdes, Barcelona: A-

With the exception of pretty poor form on Pastore's goal, Valdes was the reason this game was scoreless at the half. Time and time again, he denied PSG's advances with acrobatic saves or perfect positioning.

PSG could have easily won this contest, and Valdes is the main reason they didn't.

 

Lucas Moura, PSG: A-

Like Lavezzi, Lucas was brilliant in the first 45. The Barca defense had no answer for him when he barreled forward on the ball, his service into the box was top-notch and he nearly scored on an early header. All he didn't do in this match was score.

 

Pedro, Barcelona: B

He wasn't a huge factor throughout, but when he had his chance, he buried it, scoring the goal that sent Barca through to the semis. For that alone, he's earned himself a "B."

 

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