PSG through on nervy night at the Parc
By D. Crossan
Paris Saint-Germain drew 1-1 with Valencia at the Parc des Princes to qualify for the quarter-finals by a 3-2 aggregate scoreline. Nevertheless, it had been a nervous second leg in the capital for Carlo Ancelotti's men.
Wednesday, March 6, 2013
UEFA Champions League, round of 16, second leg
Valencia CF 1 - 1 Paris Saint-Germain (PSG through 3-2 on aggregate)
Thiago Silva returned after nearly two months injured and the calming influence of the classy PSG captain was felt in the first half as the hosts restricted Valencia's opportunities, despite the visitors enjoying the greater possession. PSG played cautiously and were only really in trouble once in the opening period when Valencia striker Roberto Soldado played a fine one-two with Jonas before shooting tamely at Salvatore Sirigu.
PSG were content to soak up the pressure and barely figured as an attacking force, although Lucas Moura did show one or two nice touches. Ancelotti played the Brazilian international off Ezequiel Lavezzi in the absence of the suspended Zlatan Ibrahimovic, while the Italian bolstered his midfield by selecting Clément Chantôme on the right with Thiago Motta sitting centrally on his return from a thigh injury. David Beckham was an unused substitute.
Ancelotti was forced into a 27th-minute change when right-back Christophe Jallet limped off to be replaced by Gregory Van der Wiel. Soon after that change, Valencia's former Montpellier midfielder Tino Costa flashed a 25-metre effort wide.
Jonas lets fly
Ten minutes into the second half Valencia got a goal out of nothing as the ball broke to Jonas, whose goals had done for Lille in the group stage. The Brazilian let fly from just outside the area and a slight deflection off Alex took it beyond Sirigu. It was the Jonas' fifth Champions League goal of the season and suddenly the Parc des Princes was worried.
Ancelotti responded to the concession by bringing on Kevin Gameiro for his Champions League debut, the striker replacing Thiago Motta. It meant Chantôme shifted infield and Lucas dropped to the right side of a midfield in which French international Blaise Matuidi excelled.
Lavezzi eases nerves
Lavezzi eased the home nerves in the 66th minute as he converted at the second attempt, Vicente Guaita having saved the Argentinean international's initial effort. Sub Gameiro played a massive part in it, winning the ball in midfield and accelerating towards the opposition are. Crowded out by the Valencia defence, the former Lorient's man still created the space for Lavezzi to knock home his fifth Champions League goal of the season when the ball fell to him.
A Valencia goal at this stage would have forced extra-time and Ernesto Valverde's men flooded the PSG box in an attempt to force the issue. PSG brought on Mamadou Sakho for Lucas in the 83rd minute with the French international - a centre-half - called upon to perform at left-back.
Valencia ultimately ran out of ideas as Ligue 1 leaders PSG booked their place in the quarter-final draw, to take place in Nyon on March 15. PSG are in the last eight of the competition for the first time since 1995 and they're now unbeaten in 23 home European games.