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Pluses outweigh minuses for Alves and Barcelona

Published: Wednesday 3 April 2013, 9.19CET
FC Barcelona's Daniel Alves was left with mixed feelings in Paris but a 2-2 away draw salved the pain of a late equaliser and injuries to Lionel Messi and Javier Mascherano.
by Matthew Spiro
from Parc des Princes

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Published: Wednesday 3 April 2013, 9.19CET

Pluses outweigh minuses for Alves and Barcelona

FC Barcelona's Daniel Alves was left with mixed feelings in Paris but a 2-2 away draw salved the pain of a late equaliser and injuries to Lionel Messi and Javier Mascherano.

The FC Barcelona players were left with mixed feelings after conceding late on against Paris Saint-Germain FC while still leaving the French capital as favourites to progress following a 2-2 quarter-final first-leg draw. "We're not totally satisfied but this is still a good result," defender Daniel Alves told

The four-time European champions had to withstand some early pressure from the home side – and even enjoyed some luck when Sergio Busquets turned the ball against his own post – but they grew stronger as an absorbing contest developed, taking the lead through Lionel Messi before the break. Although Zlatan Ibrahimović levelled for PSG, Xavi Hernández's late spot kick looked to have sealed a superb away win.

The Catalan team were denied victory by Blaise Matuidi's 94th-minute intervention, however, leaving Alves frustrated. "The way the game unfolded, we could have hoped for a better result," the Brazil right-back mused. "This is still a good result for us, especially as we were playing away from home. At this stage of the competition, all the teams are very strong, so we were expecting a tough game. PSG have top-quality players and they showed that."

There was also concern in the away dressing room regarding the fitness of two key players, Lionel Messi and Javier Mascherano, both of whom went off injured. "That's the one negative," admitted Player Rater winner Daniel Alves, whose exquisite pass to Messi for the opening goal was typical of his enterprising display. "Both Leo and Javier are playing very good football at the moment and they're very important to us."

While the Argentina defender is expected to miss next Wednesday's second leg with a knee injury, Messi will undergo tests to determine the gravity of his thigh problem. "I hope Messi's injury isn't too serious and he can play in the second leg," said the 29-year-old. "But if that's not possible we have to count on other players and try to get through to the next stage."

©AFP/Getty Images

Alves celebrates Xavi's penalty

Captain Xavi was also worried about the injuries but insisted the duo's possible absence would not prevent the Blaugrana advancing. "We have good players who can cover," the Spain midfielder said. "We will look to produce a performance like we did in the [round of 16 second leg] against AC Milan and hopefully we can get through."

Barcelona's away goals put them in a strong position, although nobody in the camp is getting carried away. "PSG have great players which means we will have to raise our intensity," Andrés Iniesta said. "If we want to get to the semi-finals we will have to play a complete game in every sense."

Xavi, meanwhile, dismissed the suggestion Tito Vitanova's men might play more defensively in the return fixture. "Barcelona always look to attack, have possession of the ball and be the protagonists," he said. "That's how we'll approach the return."

Last updated: 03/04/13 17.39CET

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