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FC Barcelona accepted their place in history – becoming the first club to make six consecutive UEFA Champions League semi-finals – with a certain degree of contentment but also relief.
Having begun Wednesday's quarter-final second leg without Lionel Messi, Barcelona dropped 3-2 behind on aggregate to Paris Saint-Germain FC thanks to Javier Pastore's cleverly worked goal. However, Messi entered with 28 minutes left for what became a match-winning cameo, with David Villa helping set up the Pedro Rodríguez strike that took them through on away goals. Andrés Iniesta, named Player Rater Top Player, and Pedro knew their troubles stemmed from the excellence of Carlo Ancelotti's PSG.
Andrés Iniesta, Barcelona midfielder
PSG are a fantastic team – really excellent. They have players with lots of experience. They have players of the highest level – technically very good. We knew this was going to be hard and we had to endure a bit to get through. But that's completely normal against a team as strong as PSG in a quarter-final of the Champions League. The suffering and the tension were there right to the end but we achieved what we set out to do.
Patience is important in this type of game. We were always looking to score because we knew that if we got a goal they would need two. Maybe we should have controlled the game more to avoid suffering too much because of their counterattacking skill and because Javier Pastore knew how to play between the lines really intelligently. But big games are like that and we got the result we needed.
Pedro always scores. He always scores because he is a finisher – he's got goals in his boots and beyond getting the important goal tonight he had a terrific match. In fact the team did well enough to merit being in the semi-final draw.
The semi-final draw? We achieved our objective to be in it. The other three teams are really strong and playing at a great level. We are in the semis on merit and we are going to give our utmost to be in the final regardless of who we face next.
Pedro Rodríguez, Barcelona forward
In the move for the goal I could see that David Villa had the ball under control. He had his back to goal so I was facing it and I could see the little gap to the keeper's left. I tried to hit it really hard because there were players all over the place in front of me and in the end I just struck it really cleanly. I'm delighted to have scored, naturally, but above all it's satisfying that the team is in the semi-finals.
We knew full well that this was going to be a difficult match – really keenly contested. The fact PSG went 1-0 up made things pretty complicated for us, but in the end we got the draw because we played well, because we used our heads – that's what put us in the semis. I think PSG are already a terrific team with top players. Perhaps they're still a team under construction, technically speaking, but they have wonderful players and are very competitive.
The semi-final draw is a difficult one. We'll be happy with whoever we get. They are three tough opponents with great footballers. We'll have a tough tie whoever the draw gives us.
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