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Champions League: Barcelona's Bittersweet Draw with PSG: Messi, Mascherano Injured

Barcelona got a good result but a bad feeling from their first leg encounter with PSG. Despite drawing away from home and getting a decent amount of away goals by making the scoreline read 2-2, the emotion from the fans was mostly negative as Lionel Messi and Javier Mascherano suffered from injury.

Cesc Fabregas could be supplanting Messi in the central forward role.
Cesc Fabregas could be supplanting Messi in the central forward role.
Denis Doyle

"We would have signed a 2-2 before the game," Xavi reflected, "but now the result leaves a bittersweet taste."

A 2-2 draw away in the Champions League is a good result. PSG have to go into Barcelona and either win or get a high-scoring draw - not an easy task. So why are Cules so troubled by this game?

Xavi's midfield partner, Andres Iniesta, explained the two sides of the match: "we go home with a good feeling because of the game, but hurt because of the injuries."

Not long after exhausting themselves in the high altitude of La Paz, playing against Bolivia for the Argentine national team, Javier Mascherano and Lionel Messi - two players who do not suffer injuries frequently - could not complete the first leg in Paris.

No injury is good, but of all the players to have in the treatment room, it's hard to think of two worse cases.

Messi is easily Barca's best player and likely the best in the world, too. David Villa, Pedro, Alexis Sanchez, Cesc Fabregas, and Cristian Tello give the Catalans good options in the strikeforce, but past Messi's eight CL goals, the only Barca player with more than one tally in Europe is Jordi Alba.

Mascherano's case is more circumstantial. With Carles Puyol out and Eric Abidal still recovering from serious illness, the only truly fit, experienced stopper is Gerard Pique.

Marc Bartra is promising but completely unproven, while Marc Muniesa's progress has stalled due to a serious injury at the beginning of the season. Sergio Busquets, Alex Song, and Adriano Correia can move in from other positions to cover, but that situation is not optimal.

To add insult to injury, literally, Barca led 1-0 and 2-1, but both times PSG equalized with some good fortune. For their first goal, Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored from a completely offside position. "It's impossible the referee didn't see the offside" Busquets complained.

For their second goal, just seconds from time, Blaise Matuidi blasted a shot, which took a deflection and spilled past Victor Valdes.

On the other hand, it should be mentioned that Barca got away with some slack defending at times. Even still, Barcelona are confident they can get the result in Catalonia - after all, they just walloped AC Milan 4-0 at the Camp Nou. To progress, however, Barca will have to do it without their best player and with a largely untested option in central defense.

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