Big Match Feature: Barca v PSG

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11141241_10152724514096160_6803262017563483474_o Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona meet for the fourth time this season with the French champions  looking to improve on their matchday six loss at the Camp Nou.

PSG certainly have it all to do after going down 3-1 in the home first leg, their first defeat at the Parc des  Princes in 34 European games.

 Previous meetings

Barça overtook PSG to finish first in Group F with a 3-1 home win on 10 December. After Zlatan I  brahimovic’s opener, Lionel Messi, Neymar and Luis Suárez scored the goals that ensured Barça finished  with a two–point advantage over their opponents.

The lineups at the Camp Nou on 10 December 2014 were:

Barcelona: Ter Stegen, Bartra (Adriano 90), Piqué, Mascherano, Mathieu, Pedro (Rakitic 68), Busquets, Iniesta (Xavi 73), Messi, Suárez, Neymar.

PSG: Sirigu, Van der Wiel, Thiago Silva, David Luiz, Maxwell, Verratti (Pastore 62), Thiago Motta, Lucas, Matuidi (Lavezzi 75), Ibrahimovic, Cavani.

PSG had recorded a famous 3-2 win against Barcelona on matchday two with goals from David Luiz, Marco Verratti and Blaise Matuidi; Messi and Neymar replied.

The lineups at the Parc des Princes on 30 September 2014 were:

PSG: Sirigu, Van der Wiel, Marquinhos, David Luiz, Maxwell, Verratti (Cabaye 71), Thiago Motta, Matuidi, Lucas (Bahebeck 90), Pastore (Chantôme 86), Cavani.

Barcelona: Ter Stegen, Daniel Alves (Sandro Ramírez 83), Mascherano, Mathieu, Alba, Rakitic (Xavi 69), Busquets, Iniesta, Pedro (El Haddadi 62), Messi, Neymar.

It is the third time the teams have met at this stage in the competition. In the 2012/13 quarter-finals Barcelona beat PSG on away goals after two draws – 2-2 at Parc des Princes, 1-1 at the Camp Nou.

The lineups in Barcelona on 10 April 2013 were:

Barcelona: Valdés, Daniel Alves, Piqué, Adriano (Bartra 62), Alba, Busquets, Xavi, Iniesta, Villa (Song 84), Fàbregas (Messi 62), Pedro.

PSG: Sirigu, Jallet (Van der Wiel 88), Alex, Thiago Silva, Maxwell, Verratti (Beckham 83), Thiago Motta, Lucas, Pastore, Lavezzi (Gameiro 81), Ibrahimovic.

The 1994/95 quarter-final went PSG’ way as they advanced 3-2 on aggregate. A 1-1 draw in Spainwas followed by a 2-1 home success, Raí and Vincent Guérin scoring in the last 18 minutes to take PSG through.

The December win was only Barcelona’s second victory in seven games against PSG; the other was their 1-0 triumph in the 1996/97 Uefa Cup Winners’ Cup final in Rotterdam where Ronaldo scored the only goal. Luis Enrique played for Barcelona but Blanc, then a Barça player, did not feature in the final.

Match Background

Barcelona

Including the 1-0 win over Manchester City in the round of 16 (3-1 agg), Barcelona have lost just one of their last 31 Champions League home matches, winning 24, including all three in the group stage. Of their last nine home games in the competition they have won eight and drawn one.

Barcelona’s record against French sides at the Camp Nou is W6 D2 L1 and overall it is W11 D5 L4.

They are in the quarter-finals for a record eighth consecutive season. Last season they missed out on a seventh semi-final in a row when they lost 2-1 on aggregate to Atlético Madrid (1-1 h, 0-1 a).

Barcelona have progressed 34 out of the 36 times they won the away first leg in Uefa competition, most recently against Manchester City in the round of 16. Those two failures came against 1. FC Köln in the 1980/81 Uefa Cup first round (1-0 away, 0-4 home), and FC Metz in the 1984/85 European Cup Winners’ Cup first round (4-2 away, 1-4 home).

Barcelona’s shoot-out record in Uefa competition is W5 L1:

  • 5-4 v KKS Lech Poznan, 1988/89 European Cup Winners’ Cup second round
  • 0-2 v FC Steaua Bucuresti, 1985/86 European Cup final
  • 5-4 v IFK Göteborg, 1985/86 European Cup semifinal
  • 4-1 v RSC Anderlecht, 1978/79 European Cup Winners’ Cup second round
  • 3-1 v Ipswich Town FC, 1977/78 UEFA Cup third round
  • 5-4 v AZ Alkmaar, 1977/78 UEFA Cup second round

PSG

The 2-2 draw at Chelsea in the round of 16 second leg means the French champions have lost just three of their last 13 Champions League away games, winning seven.

PSG’s record in Spain is W4 D2 L4; overall against Spanish sides it is W10 D6 L7. Their last victory came in the 2012/13 round of 16 when Ezequiel Lavezzi and Javier Pastore struck in a 2-1 win at Valencia.

The French champions are looking for a last-four place in the European Cup for the second time after 1994/95. They have lost in the quarter-finals in each of the past two seasons and their other last-eight appearance in Europe since reaching the second group stage of the 2000/01 Champions League also ended in defeat, against FC Dynamo Kyiv in the 2008/09 Uefa Cup.

PSG have suffered only three previous home first-leg defeats in Uefa competition, and lost every tie: against Videoton FC (1984/85 Uefa Cup second round, 2-4 home, 0-2 away), Juventus (1989/90 Uefa Cup second round, 0-1 home, 1-2 away) and AC Milan (1994/95 Champions League semi-finals, 0-1 home, 0-2 away).

PSG’s European shoot-out record is W0 L1:

  • 3-4 v Rangers FC, 2001/02 Uefa Cup third round

Coach and Player links

Blanc and Luis Enrique played together at the Camp Nou during the former’s solitary campaign there (1996/97).

Luis Enrique was in the Real Madrid CF side knocked out of Europe by PSG in the 1992/93 Uefa Cup quarterfinals (3-1 h, 1-4 a), then in the 1993/94 Uefa Cup Winners’ Cup quarter-finals (0-1 h, 1-1 a).

Blanc was in charge of the France side beaten 2-0 by Spain in the Euro 2012 quarter-finals. Jordi Alba, Sergio Busquets, Gerard Piqué, Xavi, Andrés Iniesta and Pedro Rodríguez all featured.

Thiago Motta came through the Barcelona academy and made 96 Liga appearances, scoring six goals. He won two Spanish titles and was an unused substitute for their 2006 Champions League final win against Arsenal.

Maxwell made 57 Liga appearances for Barcelona (2009–12) and won two league titles but was not involved in the 2011 Champions League final.

Thiago Silva headed Milan’s added-time equaliser in a 2-2 group stage draw at Barcelona in September 2011. His Milan side were beaten 3-2 at home in the return fixture and the defender missed both legs of Barcelona’s 3-1 aggregate win in the quarterfinals.

Motta was a second-half substitute and Salvatore Sirigu sat on the bench as Italy lost 4-0 to Spain in the Euro 2012 final in Kyiv. Jordi Alba scored the second goal and Piqué, Xavi, Iniesta and Busquets also featured.

Douglas Pereira and Lucas Moura shared a dressing room at São Paulo for the latter half of 2012, winning the Copa Sudamericana together.

Luiz scored a goal and put a penalty past Claudio Bravo to help Brazil beat Chile on spot kicks after a 1-1 draw in the 2014 Fifa World Cup round of 16.

Neymar, playing alongside Thiago Silva, scored in Brazil’s 3-1 win against France in a friendly international in PSG on 26 March. Blaise Matuidi featured for France.

Match Facts

Barcelona

Daniel Alves is available after serving a one-match suspension.

Barcelona have won 32 of their last 36 games in all competitions, and 11 of their past 12.

Barcelona have lost this season by a margin that would at least force extra time in the second leg – 3-1 at Real Madrid in October. Not since the 2012/13 Champions League semifinals have they been beaten by two clear goals at home, however: losing 3-0 to Bayern Munich.

Messi scored his 400th Barcelona goal in all competitions in Saturday’s 2-0 defeat of Valencia. He has scored 46 goals in 45 games for the Catalan club this season.

Suárez has scored 12 goals in his last 12 appearances in all competitions, including the first-minute opener against Valencia.

Messi has provided assists for 12 of Neymar’s 28 goals this season.

Piqué made his 300th appearance for Barcelona in the first leg; he has scored 26 goals for the club.

PSG

Verratti and Ibrahimovic are available after serving one-match suspensions in the first leg. Serge Aurier is two games into a three-match ban. Matuidi and Gregory van der Wiel are both a booking away from a ban.

Ibrahimovic has scored 13 goals in his last seven outings for club and country, including hat-tricks against FC Lorient (3-1) and AS Saint-Étienne (4-1).

Ibrahimovic has scored 104 goals for PSG in all competitions and is five behind Pauleta’s club record.

PSG have scored three goals or more in five of their last six outings, including Saturday’s 3-1 success at OGC Nice in which Javier Pastore scored twice.

Starting with the matchday six loss at Barcelona, PSG have won seven of their last 14 away games and lost four.

Including the final fixture of last season, the French champions were unbeaten in 24 home matches before the first-leg defeat by Barcelona.

Thiago Motta has missed the last four games with a hamstring injury; Thiago Silva limped off against Barcelona with a thigh problem.

PSG lifted the French League Cup on 11 April, Ibrahimovic and Edinson Cavani scoring two each in a 4-0 defeat of SC Bastia. PSG face Ligue 2’s AJ Auxerre in the French Cup final on 30 May.

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