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PSG 2 Barcelona 2 – match report: Lionel Messi and Dani Alves goals canceled out by Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Blaise Matuidi

PSG 2 Barcelona 2: Late Matuidi goal gives French side hope as Messi and Co are held in Paris

PUBLISHED:

20:43 GMT, 2 April 2013

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UPDATED:

21:16 GMT, 2 April 2013

Barcelona scored two away goals but were twice pegged back in a dramatic Champions League quarter-final first leg at the Parc des Princes.

Lionel Messi gave Barca a half-time lead, a goal owing much to Dani Alves' vision, before departing with a hamstring injury at the interval.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic controversially equalised against his former club and though Xavi's late penalty looked to have ensured a first-leg lead for Barca, Blaise Matuidi made it 2-2 with a deflected last kick of the match.

On target - again: Lionel Messi opened the scoring for Barcelona

On target – again: Lionel Messi opened the scoring for Barcelona

MATCH FACTS

PSG: Sirigu, Jallet, Alex, Thiago Silva, Maxwell, Beckham (Verratti 70), Matuidi, Lucas Moura, Pastore (Gameiro 76), Ibrahimovic, Lavezzi (Menez 66).

Subs not used: Douchez, Sakho, Chantome, Van Der Wiel.

Booked: Matuidi, Beckham, Ibrahimovic, Sirigu.

Goals: Ibrahimovic 79, Matuidi 90.

Barcelona: Valdes, Dani Alves, Pique, Mascherano (Bartra 84), Jordi Alba, Xavi, Busquets, Iniesta, Sanchez, Messi (Fabregas 46), Villa (Tello 81).

Subs not used: Pinto, Thiago, Montoya, Song.

Booked: Pique, Jordi Alba, Mascherano, Dani Alves.

Goals: Messi 38, Xavi 89 pen.

Attendance: 45,000

Referee: Wolfgang Stark (Ergolding)

The first chance fell to PSG with less than five minutes played. Ezequiel Lavezzi cut inside, sending Gerard Pique sliding the wrong way, and Barca midfielder Sergio Busquets stuck out a foot to stab the ball against the frame of his own goal.

Alex climbed highest to meet David Beckham's corner but headed well wide, and Victor Valdes then dived to save Javier Pastore's low drive and had to scramble to recover the loose ball ahead of the onrushing Alex.

It added up to an opening 15 minutes of Parisian dominance, though Andres Iniesta soon curled just wide at the other end.

PSG pressed again and when Pique flattened Ibrahimovic just outside the 'D' and was booked, Valdes had to push the Swede's fierce low free-kick around the post.

Ibrahimovic dragged a shot wide after a driving run from Lucas Moura but Barca began to make better use of their possession, with Alexis Sanchez's shot deflected wide before Messi opened the scoring eight minutes before half-time.

Alves curled a staggering pass into the box with the outside of his right foot and Messi ran on to the ball and fired first time inside the far post.

Easy does it: Messi runs off in celebration after making it 1-0

Easy does it: Messi runs off in celebration after making it 1-0

Celebration time: Messi celebrates with Daniel Alves and Xavi Hernandez after his goal against PSG

Celebration time: Messi celebrates with Daniel Alves and Xavi Hernandez after his goal against PSG

The Argentinian curled another effort millimetres over the bar but appeared to tweak his right hamstring in the process and was a passenger as half-time approached.

He was replaced by Cesc Fabregas upon the restart, and a Barca statement released during the second half confirmed he will undergo tests tomorrow to determine the extent of his injury.

Matuidi, impressive defensively in the first half, showed up in attack but was blocked off by Javier Mascherano as he pursued his own heavy touch into the penalty area, though no foul was given. Pique then prevented the all-action Matuidi from reaching Ibrahimovic's pass.

Not going to plan: Zlatan Ibrahimovic and David Beckham look dejected as Barcelona celebrate

Not going to plan: Zlatan Ibrahimovic and David Beckham look dejected as Barcelona celebrate

Beckham

David Beckham heads the ball

Getting stuck in: Beckham started for PSG and played for 70minutes before being replaced by Marco Verratti

Stars of the show: Messi is tracked by Beckham

Stars of the show: Messi is tracked by Beckham

Battle for the ball: Messi holds off the challenge of Beckham

Battle for the ball: Messi holds off the challenge of Beckham

Going in for the tackle: Beckham brings down Cesc Fabregas

Going in for the tackle: Beckham brings down Cesc Fabregas

In the book: Beckham is shown a yellow card by Referee Wolfgang Stark

In the book: Beckham is shown a yellow card by Referee Wolfgang Stark

The imperious Thiago Silva's clearance
denied Barca a second goal and Sanchez could not connect properly with
Fabregas' deep cross, shooting weakly at Sirigu.

Matuidi was booked for fouling Iniesta, ruling him out of the return leg, before Lavezzi was replaced by Jeremy Menez.

Alves
went close to a goal of his own when he curled a free-kick just wide
before Mascherano chopped down Menez to also earn himself a ban.

Take Zlat! Ibrahimovic makes it 1-1 with close range finish

Take Zlat! Ibrahimovic makes it 1-1 with close range finish

Eyes on the ball: Ibrahimovic made it 1-1 with his goal

Eyes on the ball: Ibrahimovic made it 1-1 with his goal

Menez's free-kick was deflected behind
and the resulting corner caused chaos. Jordi Alba and Mascherano
collided and were both prone in the six-yard box, playing three PSG
players onside as the half-cleared set-piece was returned into the box,
and Valdes was forced into a point-blank save from Ibrahimovic's shinned
effort.

Barca had to defend the next corner
with nine men and the controversy continued even after the pair
returned, Thiago Silva heading Menez's free-kick against the post before
the rebound was jabbed home by an offside Ibrahimovic.

Going down: Alexis Sanchez falls under the challenge of PSG goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu

Going down: Alexis Sanchez falls under the challenge of PSG goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu

Spot on: Xavi scores his side's second goal from the penalty spot

Spot on: Xavi scores his side's second goal from the penalty spot

Substitute
Kevin Gameiro was almost sent through by Ibrahimovic's flick-on, only
for the bounce to deceive the diminutive France international.

With a minute remaining, though, a penalty handed Barca the advantage in the tie once more.

Last kick of the game: Blaise Matuidi scores his side's second equalising goal late on

Last kick of the game: Blaise Matuidi scores his side's second equalising goal late on

Happy ending: Matuidi celebrates his goal late goal

Happy ending: Matuidi celebrates his goal late goal

Sirigu was booked for pulling down Sanchez and Xavi sent the keeper the wrong way from the spot.
Ibrahimovic
lashed another effort into Valdes' net but this time was correctly
flagged offside – but there was still late drama to come.

Ibrahimovic nodded the ball back and
Matuidi's shot was squeezed between the legs of substitute Marc Bartra,
wrong-footing Valdes and levelling the scores.

David Beckham makes Paris Saint-Germain debut in 2-0 win over Olympique Marseille

PSG 2 Marseille 0: Winning start for Beckham as English star has a hand in second goal during 15-minute debut

By
Adam Shergold

PUBLISHED:

22:01 GMT, 24 February 2013

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UPDATED:

22:10 GMT, 24 February 2013

David Beckham made a winning debut for Paris Saint-Germain as they took a big step towards the French championship with a 2-0 win over bitter rivals Marseille.

The former England captain came on with 15 minutes remaining and had a hand in his new team's second goal, scored by Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Earlier, Lucas Moura's shot was deflected off Joey Barton and Nicolas N'Koulou to give the hosts a 10th minute lead.

Debut: David Beckham came off the bench in the 76th minute to make his first appearance for new club Paris Saint-Germain in their 2-0 win over rivals Marseille

Debut: David Beckham came off the bench in the 76th minute to make his first appearance for new club Paris Saint-Germain in their 2-0 win over rivals Marseille

First start: Beckham started on the bench and came on for Javier Pastore in the closing stages

First start: Beckham started on the bench and came on for Javier Pastore in the closing stages

Helping hand: In blizzard-like conditions in Paris, Beckham played a part in PSG's second goal, scored by Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Helping hand: In blizzard-like conditions in Paris, Beckham played a part in PSG's second goal, scored by Zlatan Ibrahimovic

Barton played from the start for Marseille, but Beckham had to make do with a start on the bench in snowy Paris.

He completed two warm-ups during the
second-half and replaced Javier Pastore in the 76th minute. Beckham's
passing looked as sharp and reliable as ever, as he connected with
teammates Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Jeremy Menez, Ezequiel Lavezzi and others.

And it was Beckham who chipped a ball
over the Marseille defence into the path of Menez in the first minute
of injury time. Menez crossed and Ibrahimovic deflected the ball past
Steve Mandanda with his knee.

In an open and entertaining game, PSG failed to fully capitalise on an early lead gained fortuitously when Moura's shot, which was going wide, deflected first off Barton and then off N'Koulou to wrong foot Mandanda in goal.

Marseille, inspired by the excellent Mathieu Valbuena, created a number of good openings to equalise and PSG keeper Salvatore Sirigu saved smartly on a number of occasions.

The win is significant for PSG, who are chasing a third French title, as it took them back above Lyon, who had beaten Lorient 3-1 earlier in the day.

More to follow…

Contrasting fortunes: Joey Barton can only look on in disappointment as Beckham hugs Ibrahimovic after the second goal

Contrasting fortunes: Joey Barton can only look on in disappointment as Beckham hugs Ibrahimovic after the second goal

Mario Balotelli copies Ronaldinho, Ronaldo Valderrama and Waddle haircuts

Cutting it fine! Balotelli looks to be in razor sharp form heading into Euro 2012

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UPDATED:

09:39 GMT, 21 May 2012

Mario Balotelli’s hair-raising antics on and off the pitch have kept fans talking about him all season and the attention will continue this summer when the Manchester City striker travels to Euro 2012.

The 21-year-old is in the Italy squad for their assault at the European Championships in Poland/Ukraine, and to prepare for the tournament, Balotelli appears to be on a mission to create an iconic haircut.

Copying something from the past is something the former Inter Milan star isn’t interested in though. Chris Waddle’s Italia 90 mullet, Carlos Valderrama’s uber-perm from the 94 and 98 World Cups and Ronaldo’s ‘I’ve forgotten to shave the front of my head’ look four years later all get dismissed by the Italian.

Instead Balotelli opts for a neatly crafted Mohawk, but on his way out of the barbers is reminded by Mamadou Sakho that the real work will be done on the pitch in a few weeks time.

Not for me: Mario Balotelli is unimpressed with the 90s throwbacks from Chris Waddle and Carlos Valderrama

Not for me: Mario Balotelli is unimpressed with the 90s throwbacks from Chris Waddle and Carlos Valderrama

Not for me: Mario Balotelli is unimpressed with the 90s throwbacks from Chris Waddle and Carlos Valderrama

The advert for Nike also features Argentina’s Javier Pastore and is all part of the company’s ‘My Time Is Now’ campaign.

A Nike Barbershop App enables viewers to emulate their heroes’ hairdo by trying out ten famous footballers iconic styles and sharing them with friends.

I didn't want a Brazilian! Iconic cuts from Ronaldinho and Ronaldo failed to raise a smile from Balotelli

I didn't want a Brazilian! Iconic cuts from Ronaldinho and Ronaldo failed to raise a smile from Balotelli

I didn't want a Brazilian! Iconic cuts from Ronaldinho and Ronaldo failed to raise a smile from Balotelli

Choosing from ‘The Neymar’, ‘The Sakho’ and ‘The Ramos’ among others, the best submissions will also get the chance to visit one of six physical Nike Barbershop locations in Buenos Aires, Madrid, Mexico City, Milan and Paris where the latest styles can be fixed for real.

A pop up Nike Barbershop will also be featured in Warsaw during Europe’s major football tournament this summer.

Javier Pastore wants bigger club, Chelsea and Arsenal alerted

Chelsea and Arsenal alerted after PSG star Pastore admits he wants bigger club

Arsenal and Chelsea have been put on alert after Paris St Germain”s 35million playmaker Javier Pastore admitted he wants to sign for a bigger club.

The Argentina international was chased by the London duo last summer before electing to join the Ligue 1 outfit from Palermo.

Patore has scored six goals in 15 appearances so far this term, but the 22-year-old has admitted it would be hard to refuse if the advances of a bigger club.

Centre of attention: Pastore admits his dream is to play for a big club

Centre of attention: Pastore admits his dream is to play for a big club

He told Radio Radio: “I train with great conviction in order to realise my dream of playing with a big team.

“If I want a team bigger than PSG to contact me, then it depends on me.”

PSG suffered a double blow on Sunday as they missed the chance to move to the top of the table – and David Beckham wasn”t there to watch them.

Beckham has been strongly linked with a move to the French capital and it was expected that he would attend the 0-0 draw with Lille at the Parc des Princes, but he was not spotted in a packed and expectant crowd.

The result left PSG in second place with 37 points from 18 games, behind Montpellier on goal difference after the leaders drew 1-1 at home with Toulouse on Saturday.

Rafa Benitez could join David Beckham at Paris St Germain

Rafa”s return! PSG line up ex-Liverpool boss Benitez to form French dream team with Beckham

Former Liverpool and Inter Milan manager Rafael Benitez has been lined up as a replacement for Paris St Germain coach Antoine Kombouare.

The move could see the Spaniard link up with David Beckham who is also touted to join the French side.

The French giants are in pole position to sign the former England captain and as money is no object to the Qatari owners of PSG will offer Becks an 18-month contract worth almost 12million.

Allez! Benitez looks set to take over at ambitious French side PSG

Allez! Benitez looks set to take over at ambitious French side PSG

The Ligue 1 side look set to sack Kombouare and have approached Benitez, who is available after being dismissed from Serie A club Inter last December.

Benitez enjoyed success at Liverpool between 2004 and 2010, winning the ChampionsLeague in 2005 and FA Cup in 2006.

The Spaniard would be interested in taking over if Kombouare is sacked. However, no contact has been made.

PSG are currently second in the French top flight after they ended their three-game winless run with a 3-2 win over Auxerre on Sunday.

Qatar Investment Authority took control of the Parisian club in May and have invested heavily, bringing in big-name signings such as Javier Pastore and Jeremy Menez.

Crowd puller: Beckham is currently on a world tour with LA Galaxy

Crowd puller: Beckham is currently on a world tour with LA Galaxy

Beckham is out of contract after helping Galaxy win the MLS Cup and is set to return to Europe with French giants leading the charge to sign him.

Becks will take his time weighing up his next move and has suggested he will wait until the New year before making an announcement.

But with a huge cash deal on the table from the French, it is likely Beckham will snub the advances of Tottenham Hotspur who he spent time training with earlier this year.

All smiles: Becks

All smiles: Becks” time at LA Galaxy has come to an end but he hasn”t revealed next move