Monday, April 20, 2015

FC Barcelona vs Paris Saint-Germain
UEFA Champions League
Match date: 21 April 2015
Kick Off Time: 19:45 BST
Venue: Camp Nou (Barcelona, Spain) 

Barcelona team look poised for the semifinals after smashing the Parc des Princes in the 1st leg. Neymar got the party started when he latched onto a Messi assist, but Luis Suarez stole the show in the French capital with a brace in the second half to take 3 away goals into this match (3:1). That means the Parisians must find a way to do something that no other visiting team has done in 38 competitive trips to the Camp Nou–score 3 goals. Defence has been the Catalans’ downfall in recent seasons, but they have found stability this term and have now allowed in just 10 goals from their last 15 competitive fixtures. Furthermore, no team has conceded fewer times this season in the Spanish top-flight, and over the weekend Barcelona earned yet another clean sheet in a 2:0 win over Valencia. Suarez once again worked his magic when he finished off a brilliant movement from the hosts in just the first minute of the game. The Uruguayan and his South American counterparts, Neymar and Messi assemble arguably the most-feared strike force in the world, and it’ll be interesting to see how PSG balance the need to cover these 3 stars with needing to score 3 goals.
FC Barcelona certainly enter Tuesday with a nice cushion to rely on, but it simply isn’t in their nature to sit back and invite pressure on themselves. They want to control the match, they want to dictate possession, and they want to create scoring chances, and those desires and tactics likely won’t change here as they know the Parisians could extend themselves in an effort to get an early goal.

PSG needed to avoid defeat in the 1st leg against the Catalans, but an early slip-up and an injury to Thiago Silva ultimately derailed their hopes as they fell to a catastrophic home defeat (1:3). Now they must travel to the seemingly-impregnable Camp Nou and somehow strike a balance between scoring 3 goals and limiting Barcelona’s star-studded forwards. That task has been made easier with the returns from suspension of Ibrahimovic and Verratti, while Motta could make an early comeback from injury and be forced back into action. Furthermore, the Parisians did find 3 road goals over the weekend and will have returned some confidence before their trip south. That match ended 3:1 and was their 5th win in their last 6 competitive fixtures.
However, barring a miraculous display from Ibrahimovic here, Paris Saint-Germain could overextend themselves going forward in search of their first, second, or even third goal. The Catalans can hit quickly on the counter-attack and will likely still boss the majority of possession as it isn’t their way to sit back and invite pressure. With captain and world-class defender Thiago Silva doubtful to play with a thigh injury, their chances of shutting down the Catalan attack are slim to none. They have conceded 5 away goals in their last 2 Champions League road games and 11 total goals to Barcelona in their last 5 meetings in Europe.

Probable lineups:
FC Barcelona: ter Stegen – Alves, Pique, Mascherano, Alba – Rakitic, Busquets, Xavi – Messi, Suarez, Neymar.
Paris Saint-Germain: Sirigu – van der Wiel, Marquinhos, David Luiz, Maxwell – Verratti, Cabaye, Matuidi – Cavani, Ibrahimovic, Pastore.

You can watch the match here: Link 1 , Link 2 [Live Scores]

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