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Barcelona, Bayern Complete Champions League Semifinal Lineup
Barcelona advanced to the Champions League soccer semifinals for a record sixth straight year after eliminating Paris Saint-Germain on away goals, as Bayern Munich ousted Juventus with a 2-0 win.
World player of the year Lionel Messi came on as a second- half substitute to help set up Pedro Rodriguez for the tying goal as Barcelona drew 1-1 at its Camp Nou stadium last night to go through on the tiebreaker. The teams drew 2-2 to open the two-match quarterfinal last week in France.
“PSG are great rivals and perhaps it took us a while to get into our rhythm at the start,” Pedro said on the website of tournament organizer UEFA. “Messi was the catalyst. We changed after he came on and we have to thank him for that.”
Mario Mandzukic and Claudio Pizarro scored in Italy as German champion Bayern completed a 4-0 aggregate win against Juventus to reach the semifinals of Europe’s elite club competition for the third time in four seasons.
The final four features two teams each from Spain and Germany as Barcelona and Bayern join record-nine time winner Real Madrid and Borussia Dortmund in tomorrow’s draw in Nyon, Switzerland. The opening games are scheduled April 23 and 24.
“We’d like to be kept apart from Dortmund, but you don’t have a choice in these things,” Bayern’s Arjen Robben said on UEFA’s website. “What comes comes. They are big games, the semifinals, featuring four great teams. It’s nice to be there.”
Pedro’s 71st-minute goal was enough to send Barcelona through. It came off a passing move instigated by Messi, the four-time world player of the year who started on the bench after injuring his hamstring in Paris last week.
PSG had taken a 3-2 overall lead five minutes into the second half as Zlatan Ibrahimovic sent a pass to Javier Pastore, who beat the offside trap before lifting his shot over goalkeeper Victor Valdes.
Pastore then shot wide after being set up in the area by Ibrahimovic in the 58th minute. After Barcelona’s Dani Alves fired over the goal, Messi came on for Cesc Fabregas, drawing a huge cheer from the Camp Nou crowd.
PSG goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu punched out Andres Iniesta’s low drive with Messi unable to get a shot off the rebound. Barcelona then scored with 19 minutes left as Messi slid a pass into the area for David Villa, who laid a ball back for Pedro to fire past Sirigu.
“We’re happy to be in the semifinals once again,” Villa said. “It cost us a lot of effort to get there. Messi is the best player in the world and he changed the entire game just by his presence on the field. We really appreciate his efforts.”
Barcelona is seeking its fifth European Cup title and fourth in the past eight seasons.
In Turin, Bayern completed a rout of two-time champion Juventus to continue its quest for a fifth European Cup victory after two runner-up finishes in the past three seasons.
Mandzukic gave Bayern the lead in the 64th minute by heading in the rebound after Gianluigi Buffon saved Javi Martinez’s shot. Pizarro then fired past Buffon in stoppage time after taking a pass from Bastian Schweinsteiger.
“The big difference between them and us is experience: they have played together for a few years and went far in Europe in the last few seasons,” Buffon said. “I knew they were strong, but to be honest I did not think they were so strong. They can win the Champions League.”