Paris Saint-Germain came from behind to secure a dramatic 2-2 draw with Barcelona in the first leg of its Champions League quarter-final at the Parc des Princes on Tuesday.
Lionel Messi opened the scoring in the 38th minute before Zlatan Ibrahimovic leveled matters late in the second half. Xavi seemed to have settled it from the penalty spot in the waning moments but Blaise Matuidi scored on the last kick of the game.
PSG coach Carlo Ancelotti selected an attacking lineup, which included a surprise start for David Beckham in midfield.
The French club sprinted out of the starting blocks and almost took the lead when Ezequiel Lavezzi beat his marker and curled a left-footed shot that deflected off Gerard Pique and hit the post.
The hosts kept coming in waves and Javier Pastore unleashed a drive that Barca keeper Victor Valdes fumbled with Lavezzi lurking dangerously.
It was all PSG as Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s low free kick was expertly parried away by Valdes. Ibra had another good opportunity to open the scoring when Lucas found him in stride but the Swede dragged his shot wide of the post when he really should have hit the target.
Barcelona then made the hosts pay for their profligacy in front of goal as Dani Alves’ lofted pass found Messi who volleyed a shot into the far corner.
It was a cruel blow for the hosts but the goal showed the punishing prowess of Messi.
The Argentine almost doubled Barca’s advantage but his curling effort just flew over the crossbar and the visitors took a 1-0 lead into the break.
Barca was dealt a setback of its own before the second half even started as Messi was forced to withdraw with a suspected muscle injury.
PSG was clearly running out of gas and Barca was more than content to hold onto the ball. Ibrahimovic then was presented with a glorious opportunity but Valdes stood tall and made a vital stop.
However, the hosts finally broke through when Ibrahimovic pounced on the ball after Thiago Silva’s header hit the crossbar and scored from close range.
This match seemed to be heading towards a 1-1 result until Salvatore Sirigu brought down Alexis Sanchez in the penalty area and Xavi made no mistake from the spot.
PSG looked done and dusted but amazingly Matuidi scored late when his shot took a big deflection off a Barca defender and rolled past Valdes.
Paris Saint-Germain salvaged a dramatic 2-2 draw but Barcelona will still like its chances heading into the second leg at Camp Nou.