Goals from Lionel Messi and Xavi Hernandez were cancelled out by Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Blaise Matuidi, as Barcelona drew 2-2 with Paris Saint-Germain.
Tito Vilanova named Xavi and Jordi Alba in the starting XI despite injury worries, whilst Javier Mascherano came in at centre-back after Carles Puyol’s knee knock. The French side meanwhile had Ibrahimovic to call upon after his suspension was reduced.
Inside a rapturous Parc des Princes, it was the home team who started the brighter of the two sides. In fact, after only five minutes, Les Parisien had hit the post following Ezequiel Lavezzi’s jinking run and shot.
It wasn’t long though before the Blaugrana’s usual monopolisation of the ball had taken effect. The metronomic presences of Xavi, Sergio Busquets and Andres Iniesta were allowing the visitors to stamp their mark on the game, but pure efforts on goal were at a premium. A curled strike after just 15 minutes from Iniesta was perhaps the closest they came, but it was Victor Valdes who was the busier of the two goalkeepers.
A fierce drive from Javier Pastore and an equally powerful shot from Ibrahimovic forced the shot-stopper into smart saves, but the home fans were kept quiet by the reflexes of the Spain international.
Lucas Moura and Lavezzi were making nuisances of themselves with their movement and dribbling ability, but the Catalan club’s backline held firm.
And that failure to find the back of the net came back to haunt the Ligue 1 team late on in the half. A superb through ball from Dani Alves found Messi inside the area, and the Argentine forward smashed home into the bottom right-hand corner.
After the break, the goalscorer was replaced by Cesc Fabregas following a hamstring twinge, and it seemed to affect Barca’s attacking potency somewhat. With the former Arsenal man playing in the ‘false nine’ role, the Blaugrana offered very little in and around the area.
With an hour gone, the game became a scrappy affair, played almost entirely in the middle of the park. Alves and Alba were still making bombastic runs down either channel, but with virtually no presence in the final third, the full-backs were finding it very difficult to carve out opportunities.
Ancelotti’s team though, were having no such issues. Kevin Gameiro and Lucas Moura had shots go wide and over, but with 10 minutes to go, they eventually got their equaliser. A Thiago Silva header clipped the inside of the post, and Ibrahimovic was there to tap in from close-range.
The momentum didn’t go the hosts’ way however, as with just minutes remaining on the clock Alexis Sanchez tumbled inside the area and won a penalty for Barcelona. With Messi on the sidelines, Xavi stepped up and coolly slotted home.
And yet, the drama didn’t end there. With the very last kick of the game, Matuidi fired in a shot from the edge of the area that squirmed past Valdes, and crawled into the back of the net for a 2-2 draw.
PSG 2-2 Barcelona
Scorers: Ibrahimovic 79 (PSG), Matuidi 90+4 (PSG); Messi 38 (B), Xavi 89 (B)
PSG: Sirigu; Jallet, Thiago Silva, Alex, Maxwell; Matuidi, Beckham (Verratti 70); Moura, Pastore (Gameiro 75), Lavezzi (Menez 68); Ibrahimovic
Barcelona: Valdés, Alves, Mascherano (Bartra 85), Piqué, Alba; Sergio, Iniesta, Xavi; Villa (Tello 80), Messi (Fabregas 45), Alexis
See the latest La Liga predictions and betting tips with Eurotips.co.uk