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Barca held to League draw, Bayern beat Juventus

Published: 10:28AM Wednesday April 03, 2013 Source: Reuters

Blaise Matuidi grabbed a dramatic equaliser in stoppage time to earn Paris St Germain a 2-2 draw with title favourites Barcelona in a pulsating Champions League quarter-final first leg today.

Barca went in front seven minutes before halftime, when Dani Alves produced an exquisite pass with the outside of his right boot straight into the path of Lionel Messi, who drove the ball in with his left foot from an acute angle.

World Player of the Year Messi then sustained a hamstring injury and had to go off at halftime, replaced by Cesc Fabregas.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic gave PSG a lifeline, when he scrambled in the equaliser, after a soaring header from Thiago Silva hit the post in the 79th minute.

Xavi calmly restored Barca's advantage from the penalty spot, after goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu rushed off his line in the 89th minute and brought down Alexis Sanchez.

Matuidi then struck with the last kick of the game, as his long-range shot eluded the outstretched fingers of keeper Victor Valdes.

"The referee (German Wolfgang Stark) made some questionable calls," Barca assistant coach Jordi Roura said after the tie.

"It's a good result but it comes at a high price," he added, referring to the injuries sustained by Messi and defender Javier Mascherano.

Argentine Mascherano will be out for six weeks after he was carried off on a stretcher with knee ligament damage in the 84th minute.

Midfielder Matuidi and Barca defender Javier Mascherano were booked, and will miss the second leg at the Nou Camp on April 10 through suspension.

David Beckham became the first British player to appear for four different clubs in the Champions League, when he was named in the starting lineup.

The former England captain did well in midfield, before he was taken off midway through the second half.

"I think we deserved a draw tonight," Beckham told ITV Sport. "There's no reason why we can't go there and get a result.

"I was very happy, the manager [Carlo Ancelotti] has always shown confidence in me. Tonight was a big moment for the club - it doesn't get much better than these nights."

Uncharacteristic mistakes

Meanwhile, David Alaba scored inside 30 seconds to set hosts Bayern Munich on the way to a 2-0 win over Juventus in their quarter-final first leg, although it could have been much worse for the Italians.

Alaba's deflected 30m effort caught Juve goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon off guard and drifted into the bottom corner to hand the visitors a nightmare start, as they suffered a first-half mauling.

Thomas Mueller added Bayern's second goal just after the hour in a meeting of the German and Italian league leaders, after Buffon had trouble with a long-range effort from Luiz Gustavo.

"It was a good match, but we are not through yet. We hardly allowed Juventus a chance and we had several good ones," Bayern's Philipp Lahm said.

Juventus playmaker Andrea Pirlo made several uncharacteristic mistakes, as his overrun side lost their first European match for three years, after an 18-match unbeaten run.

"We knew that we were playing a great team and we knew we were a decent side too, but in the end, they really deserved their victory," Buffon told Sky Italia.

"On the first goal, one of our players, perhaps Vidal, closed the ball down, it touched him and I couldn't reach it. The ball took another trajectory and there wasn't a lot I could do."

Juve had won their last five games in the competition without conceding a goal, but that record quickly fell.

Pirlo's attempted pass out of defence went straight to Bastian Schweinsteiger, who found Alaba and the Austrian's speculative shot took a slight deflection off Arturo Vidal to leave Buffon out of position.

"We prepared really well and that was the key," said Bayern coach Jupp Heynckes.

"Our pressing, our dribbling on the flanks, the way we closed them down - against a team like Juventus, the small details play a big role and that was the case today. That is why I studied them so closely."