FOOTBALL / Bayern Munich registers comfortable victory over Juventus
Paris Saint Germain twice came from behind to hold Barcelona 2-2 in the Champions League quarterfinal first leg clash on Tuesday and gave itself hope of overcoming the odds and reaching the last four.
PSG’s comeback — the sixth time in the Champions League history it has come from behind to draw or win with three of those occasions against Barcelona — was sealed by Blaise Matuidi’s stoppage time strike.
It was a sweet and sour moment for the France international midfielder as he will miss the return leg next Wednesday as he is suspended after picking up a booking.
While PSG has to go back to 1995 for its last semifinal in the Champions League, after beating Barcelona in the quarterfinals, Bayern Munich was finalist as recently as last season when beaten by Chelsea in Munich in a penalty shootout.
However, desperate to make amends for that it took a huge step towards the last four with a comfortable 2-0 win at home to Serie A champion Juventus.
A strike within the first minute by David Alaba and a second-half goal from Thomas Mueller gave it a handy advantage to take to Turin next Wednesday.
Barcelona had looked comfortable once Lionel Messi struck in the 38th minute in Paris — the 20th different city he has scored in the Champions League going one better than former Real Madrid legend Raul.
However, his failure to appear for the second-half with a hamstring injury gave PSG hope it could turn it around and that it did when Zlatan Ibrahimovic levelled from an offside position with 11 minutes remaining.
However, Barcelona looked to have sealed victory when it restored its lead a minute from time with a Xavi Hernandez penalty but Matuidi struck to give the host a deserved draw.
With Barca definitely without Jevier Mascherano for the return — he was already suspended but suffered a ligament injury that could see him out for several weeks — it will pray Messi’s injury is not too serious. Barcelona assistant coach Jordi Roura, who fielded the post match press conference even though coach Tito Villanova had returned to the dugout for the first time since returning from cancer treatment in New York, was frustrated at not coming away with the win.
“We have paid a heavy price because we lost Leo Messi and Mascherano, who could be out for four to six weeks. With Messi we shall see what the scans say”, said Roura.
“There were also some questionable refereeing decisions and what is not up for debate is that we deserved better. Ibra’s goal was certainly offside.
“I don't know what this will do for PSG's morale in that it twice came back but for us it is a favourable result.”
His question about morale may have been answered immediately by his PSG counterpart Carlo Ancelotti although he was proud of his players.
“I don't think it is a good result. I am proud of the players, their performances, their attitude and the courage they showed. However, I am not happy with the result,” said the Italian, who won the trophy both as a player and coach with AC Milan.
By contrast Bayern’s chiefs were extremely happy with the home result.
“It was a great game and that is a great result to take to Turin next week,” said Bayern chairman Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.
However, Juventus playmaker Andrea Pirlo said that there was still all to play for.
“We know there is still the return leg to play and we can certainly hope for a comeback,” said Pirlo.
“Obviously it’s never easy when you play away and you concede a goal after less than one minute, but Bayern played better than us for the entire 90 minutes.
“It was very difficult for us to play our normal game.”
At Paris: PSG 2 (Ibrahimovic 79, Matuidi 90+4) drew with Barcelona 2 (Messi 38, Xavi 89-pen).
At Munich: Bayern Munich 2 (Alaba 1, Mueller 63) bt Juventus 0. — AFP