Barcelona play down injury fears for Messi after draw with PSG

Argentine superstar's hamstring injury 'minor' say Catalans, while PSG insist Champions League tie is wide open after gritty first-leg draw

PUBLISHED : Wednesday, 03 April, 2013, 9:13am
UPDATED : Thursday, 04 April, 2013, 11:37am


Barcelona assistant coach Jordi Roura played down fears for the fitness of Lionel Messi while Paris Saint-Germain coach Carlo Ancelotti insisted his team could still win their Champions League quarter-final tie.

PSG came from behind twice to draw 2-2 with the Catalans at the Parc des Princes in a pulsating first leg, with Blaise Matuidi's stoppage-time shot squirming through the grasp of visiting keeper Victor Valdes.

Xavi Hernandez had given Barcelona the lead from the penalty spot in the 89th minute after Zlatan Ibrahimovic had cancelled out Lionel Messi's first-half opener.

Conceding so late on was a blow for the Spanish league leaders, but the two away goals give them the edge ahead of the return.

But Barca's night was marred by injuries, with centre-half Javier Mascherano being carried off in the second half and Messi not reappearing after the break because of a hamstring injury.

"Messi has a small hamstring problem," said Roura, who appeared before the press after the game despite coach Tito Vilanova returning to the bench for the first time since spending two months in New York undergoing cancer treatment.

"Mascherano has a knee ligament injury and will be out for between four and six weeks. We will try to ensure that these injuries do not have an impact on the second leg," he added, with the return to come at the Camp Nou next week. "They are two very important players to us, but we have a big enough squad and we certainly have players capable of filling in."

Last night it was confirmed that Messi would miss the weekend's Spanish league match against Mallorca, but could be back for the return match against PSG.

The game in Paris was marked by some contentious decisions, with Barcelona not happy that Ibrahimovic's strike in the 79th minute was allowed to stand. They felt that German referee Wolfgang Stark should have disallowed the goal for offside.

"There were decisions made by the referee, which could at least be contested," said Roura, who added he was not surprised by the battling nature of PSG's performance. "I was not surprised by them. We knew they would be direct and physical."

Ancelotti said he could not fault his team's performance, but bemoaned Starks' decision to award the visitors a late penalty and admitted the result leaves his team with a lot of work to do in the return.

"I am not happy with the result," he added, although the former AC Milan and Chelsea boss believes his team can unsettle Barcelona in the second leg.

"You have to defend against Barcelona, but when you have the ball you will have chances to attack and be dangerous. "I am confident that we can do something there."