FC Porto 1-0 PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN
1970 PSG Man Of The Match: Salvatore Sirigu
Paris Saint-Germain were dealt a football lesson by Portuguese champions FC Porto on Wednesday night and suffered their first defeat of the season.
James Rodriguez’s goal eight minutes from time was dually deserved in a largely frustrating night for the French club.
Coming into the game, Carlo Ancelotti made full use of his squad. Gregory Van der Wiel came in for the captain Christophe Jallet. Mamadou Sakho was given the armband as he partnered Thiago Silva in defence and Clement Chantome came in for Mohamed Sissoko. The biggest surprise was the exclusion of Javier Pastore in favour of Nene. Kevin Gameiro dropped to the bench following his heroics against Sochaux but this was not a surprise due to Ancelotti’s philosophy of playing one lone striker away from home in Europe.
Right from the get go, the hosts imposed their authority on the game with a string of early chances. Silvestre Varela, a pain in the side of Van der Wiel down the left-hand side all night, put in a telling cross for James Rodriguez at the back-post but his effort was tame. It seemed to set the tone for the Dragons and Varela in particular as they found joy down the flanks.
Marco Verratti uncharacteristically dwelled on the edge of his own penalty area, then dispossessed by Jackson Martinez with the ball eventually falling at the feet of Joao Moutinho who rifled his shot into the side netting. It was a let-off for Les Parisiens to say the least.
We were more than content at playing on the counter-attack and for all Porto’s dominance we had the two best chances of the half which talisman Zlatan Ibrahimovic – on his birthday – failed to take. The first came from a delightful ball in from Nene via the left but the big Swede’s bullet like header went wide of the post, when it looked for the entire world he would score. The second was an even better opportunity as he eluded the defence to get behind them and conjured up a diligent flick that was looping over goalkeeper Helton before he tipped it out for a corner. The big man must have believed he was offside as he had so much time and space to make the most of it.
After the interval it was much of the same. The men in blue and white were asking the questions but were up against a valiant Salvatore Sirigu who put in a world class performance to deny them numerous times.
Then came drama in the 80th minute. Ezequiel Lavezzi had come on as a substitute seven minutes prior but was then taken off in place of Javier Pastore. This led to the former Napoli man venting his anger on the sideline by booting a water cooler across the dugout. At the time there was no explanation but Ancelotti told SKY Italia after the game; “Lavezzi? The player had a muscular problem, he was not able to continue and I had to change”. At the time it looked a whole lot more serious than it did.
Then the killer blow in the 83rd minute. Colombian Rodriguez finished off a gorgeous move by the home side with a beautiful sweeping finish with his left foot that gave Sirigu no chance.
It summed up a disappointing night for PSG but we came up against a top quality side. It is a valuable lesson for us and one the team can learn from. We have gone 10 Champions League visits without a win and ‘Carletto’ will be keen to address that. We remain second in the group with a double header over Dinamo Zagreb coming up where we should look to take maximum points.
As for now, it is the small matter of the Clasico against league leaders Marseille on Sunday.