Pedro fires nervy Barca past PSG into last four

2013-04-10 22:55

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Barcelona – Barcelona needed a Pedro equaliser to draw 1-1 with Paris St Germain in their Champions League quarter-final, second-leg and advance to the last four on away goals.

The favourites started the match at the Nou Camp tonight with Lionel Messi on the bench after he damaged a hamstring in last week's 2-2 first-leg draw in Paris.

Without the World Player of the Year, Barca lacked cutting edge and PSG had much the better of the first half before Javier Pastore raced clear five minutes after the break and lifted the ball over Victor Valdes into the net.

Messi replaced Cesc Fabregas with half an hour left and was involved in the buildup to Pedro's 71st-minute strike to make it 3-3 on aggregate as Barca secured a sixth straight semi-final appearance in Europe's elite club competition.

In a match with a distinctly Qatari flavour – PSG are owned by the oil-and gas-rich Arab nation and Qatar Foundation is Barca's main sponsor – the visitors made a lively start.

Ezequiel Lavezzi latched onto a Sergio Busquets error and raced through the middle in the fourth minute but his control let him down and Valdes was able to clear.

The Spain keeper was called on again in the 24th minute when Zlatan Ibrahimovic sent Lavezzi clear and he saved well with an outstretched leg before palming a powerful Lucas header over the bar as PSG pressed for a goal.

Barca were looking unusually ragged with the normally impeccable Busquets misplacing several passes and fullback Daniel Alves miscuing a couple of crosses.

Xavi flashed an early free kick wide and Pedro fired into the side netting in the 21st minute but otherwise the La Liga leaders were ineffective going forward.

After Pastore's goal and the introduction of Messi the home side appeared to rediscover their urgency and close to 100 000 fans packed inside the giant arena did their best to lift the players.

Barca were in danger of suffering their first Champions League defeat at the Nou Camp since losing 2-1 to Russian side Rubin Kazan in October 2009.

However, Pedro, who received the all-clear to play shortly before the match after a muscle injury, rescued them with a clinical finish from the edge of the area.

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