UEFA Champions League: PSG 1 Valencia 1 (agg. 3-2)
By Football News
Paris Saint-Germain were made to work hard for a 1-1 draw against Valencia to seal their Champions League quarter-final spot on Wednesday.
In what was an affair lacking in quality and excitement for long periods at Parc de Princes, the Spaniards grabbed the lead thanks to a well-taken strike from Jonas early in the second half.
PSG, who were missing suspended pair Marco Verratti and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, battled back quickly and Ezequiel Lavezzi scrambled them level.
From the outset it was clear that the home side were in an indecisive mood, and this allowed Valencia to set the tempo for much of the game.
Although they struggled to test Salvatore Sirigu in the PSG goal, Valencia deservedly grabbed the lead 10 minutes into the second period when Jonas blasted home with his unfavoured right foot from the edge of the area.
Ancelotti responded by introducing Kevin Gameiro, and the substitute would play a key role in invigorating the previously stale hosts. A positive run through the centre of defence was rewarded by a lucky break that saw the ball spill to Lavezzi, who needed two attempts to ultimately beat Vicente Guaita with his knee.
Even this equalising goal struggled to prompt much of a reaction from the home side, who had to withstand a good deal of pressure from their guests in the closing stages, with Alex and Thiago Silva outstanding in the heart of their defence, while Blaise Matuidi's energy in the centre of the field helped subdue Valencia.
The visitors would regret their failure to make headway earlier in the match, with Sirigu rarely tested.
With a quarter of an hour gone, Roberto Soldado should have made the Italian work harder when he got a clear sight of goal, while a scuffed effort wide from Tino Costa after 30 minutes summed up their efforts.
Only Jonas would show any serious intent during the opening period, but his shot in the 45th minute was punched clear by Sirigu.
The Brazil international was ultimately to be on the losing side, but this was a fate dictated by his side's 2-1 defeat in Spain rather than their considerable efforts in the French capital.
For the part of PSG, they looked a side well short of the quality to be serious Champions League contenders.