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PSG

PSG to play Barcelona in Champions League

France's Paris Saint-Germain will play Spanish giants Barcelona in the quarter-finals of the Champions League after being paired against the Catalan club in Friday's draw. It's arguably the toughest possible draw for PSG, but the omens are good.

PSG to play Barcelona in Champions League
Photo: AFP

The Parc des Princes in Paris will welcome Messi, Iniesta, Xavi and co after PSG were handed a plum draw against European giants Barcelona in the quarter-finals of the Champions League.

Carlo Ancelotti's team could not have hoped for a tougher draw but it will give the big-spending French club a chance to test themselves against a team widely considered to be the best in the world.

"I think it's brilliant to play Barcelona. I'm very happy but it'll be very difficult… Barca have a lot of experience, quality and confidence but PSG have a chance of going through. We'll have to play the full 180 minutes," Ancelotti told television channel Be-In Sport.

PSG have already beaten a Spanish club in this year's Champions League, knocking out Valencia in the previous round to reach their first quarter-final since 1995. They will come up against a Barca team high on confidence after thrashing Milan 4-0 in the Nou Camp on Tuesday to progress at the expense of the Italian giants.

That impressive win, which came after the Catalan team lost 2-0 in the first leg, will fill many at PSG with a certain amount of dread.

"It's the most difficult draw… And I'm not only talking about their last game but because of what they've achieved in the last few seasons," said PSG's Brazilian sporting director Leonardo.

PSG face an ominous task against the four-times European champions but at least the omens are good. The last time PSG reached this stage of the competition 18 years ago they came up against Barcelona, and won (see video below). The French team earned a 3-2 victory over two legs before being knocked out in the semi-finals by Milan.

After their scare against Milan, Barcelona will not be taking the French league leaders lightly.

"We have just had an experience in the last 16 which means we ought to be prudent. PSG have very good players with a lot of talent. They've got experience and know how to play these type of games. I'm sure they'll fight to the end, said Barcelona director of football Andoni Zubizarreta.

"They are very competitive and, moreover, we will come up against various players we know well."

Beckham, Ibrahimovic, Thiago Silva and co would no doubt settle for the same again.

The tie will be played over two legs with the first match taking place at the Parc des Princes on April 2nd/3rd and the return game at the Nou Camp on April 9th/10th.

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PROTESTS

WATCH: French riot police clear Catalan protesters at highway blockade on border with Spain

UPDATED: Riot squads from the French Gendarme moved in to clear the highway linking France and Spain at La Jonquera border on Tuesday morning, dragging protesters from their camps and firing tear gas.

WATCH: French riot police clear Catalan protesters at highway blockade on border with Spain
Protesters have blocked traffic on the main road between France and Spain. Photos: AFP

A joint police operation by forces either side of the border cleared protesters from the road as the blockade entered its second day. 

“There are no more demonstrators on the highway,” a spokeswoman for the security department of the eastern French Pyrenees said, adding that no-one had been hurt and the motorway was expected to reopen on Tuesday afternoon.   

A reported 19 people were arrested in total, one in Spain and 18 on the French side of the border.

As day broke on the second day of protest mobilised by Tsunami Democratic, the French police force took action to clear the busy border crossing where the AP7 joins France’s A9 dismantling a field kitchen set up by protesters.

Footage posted on Twitter shows the action when police moved in at 8am on Tuesday.

 

French police began the operation to clear the highway on the French side, firing canisters of tear gas to disperse the crowds who had camped out overnight and were singing protests songs around burning braziers.  

The protest is the latest action against the sentencing last month of nine of Catalan separatist leaders to lengthy jail terms and was called to block traffic at the border over a three-day period ending Wednesday night.

“This mobilisation is a cry to the international community so that it makes the Spanish state understand that the only possible path is to sit down and talk,” Tsunami Democratic said in a message to its followers on encrypted messaging service Telegram.

Several hundred people had gathered there, setting up a stage, camp and kitchen.

Although police managed to reopen the AP-7 in the direction of France, protests were still causing flare ups and congestion on roads in the area, including the N-11.

 

 


Protesters hold up signs declaring “All To La Jonquera”. Photo: AFP

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