Valencia maintain hope against clinical PSG
VALENCIA / GLASGOW - Agence France-Presse
PSG's Argentinian midfielder Javier Pastore (R) celebrates with his teammate Swedish forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic (L) after scoring during the UEFA Champions League round of 16 first leg football match Valencia CF vs Paris Saint Germain at the Mestalla stadium in Valencia on February 12, 2013. AFP photoParis Saint-Germain will take a 2-1 lead into the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie against Valencia, but a dramatic late turn of events handed the Spanish side a lifeline.
Going into the 90th minute here at the Mestalla on Tuesday, the French league leaders appeared in cruise control thanks to first-half goals from Ezequiel Lavezzi and Javier Pastore.
However, French international centre-back Adil Rami found the net in the final minute to keep Valencia in the tie, before PSG had Zlatan Ibrahimovic controversially sent-off for a studs-up challenge on Andres Guardado.
The Swede, who has been criticised in the past for failing to produce his very best in the Champions League knockout stages, will now miss the return leg at the Parc des Princes next month, but at least PSG will have a lead to defend in that game.
"Ibrahimovic did not deserve the red card. I don't understand the decision," an unhappy PSG coach Carlo Ancelotti told French Canal Plus television at full-time.
Despite the ending, for much of the evening this was a classic away European performance from Ancelotti's side, who ceded possession to their hosts but were always a threat on the counter-attack. "We played well and had chances to score more goals," added the Italian. "It was a good team performance, but this was just the first leg. There is still the return to come."
History suggested that this would be a major test for PSG, who were playing a knockout tie in Europe's top club competition for the first time since 1995.
Since then, Valencia had reached two Champions League finals, and had never been beaten by French opposition at their Mestalla home.
Elsewhere Juventus all but clinched their place in the last eight of the Champions League after a clinical display from the Italian champions earned them a 3-0 win over Celtic at Parkhead here on Tuesday.
Celtic manager Neil Lennon surprised everyone before kick-off as he handed Efe Ambrose a starting place despite the defender playing in Nigeria's Africa Cup of Nations final win over Burkina Faso on Sunday. But the gamble went horribly wrong with the defender at fault for two of Juve's deadly away goals.
Celtic got off to a nightmare start when Ambrose was caught out by the flight of Federico Peluso's long ball in the third minute, allowing Alessandro Matri to get in behind him and fire the ball over the line despite Kelvin Wilson's desperate attempted clearance on the line.
The Hoops then showed the intensity they had produced to pick up a famous win over Barcelona in the group stages as they laid siege to the Juve goal, with Victor Wanyama and Kris Commons both testing Gianluigi Buffon with strikes.
But the Italians weathered the storm and increased their lead in the 77th minute when Marchisio smashed past a shot past Fraser Forster.
Mirko Vucinic finished low through Forster's legs in the 83rd minute after Ambrose had been caught in possession by Marchisio as Juventus ended any remaining Celtic hopes.