PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN 2-1 FC Porto
1970 PSG Man Of The Match: Javier Pastore
Paris Saint-Germain overcame the Portuguese champions Porto on Tuesday night with an impressive 2-1 victory that will be remembered for a Javier Pastore renaissance.
The Argentine whose confidence has been shattered this season looked a completely different player. He was inspirational, showing tactical nous, linking up with his peers and showing the quality we all know he has. His efforts were rewarded with a standing ovation from the Parc des Princes as he was substituted late on.
The captain Thiago Silva and Ezequiel Lavezzi got the goals. They too were impressive, even though goalkeeper Helton gave us a helping hand with the winner.
Carlo Ancelotti tried something different with his formation and it paid off. A standard 4-4-2 was utilises as Jeremy Menez and Zlatan Ibrahimovic lead the line. Clement Chantome and Blaise Matudi occupied the centre of midfield with Lavezzi on the right and Pastore – in an unfavourable position – on the opposite side.
It paid dividends. Pastore did not look out of place there and was able to come inside, find the space and still be influential. For a player who is far more inclined to play in a more a central attacking area, he did brilliantly. Lavezzi was also superb. His pace was giving Alex Sandro all sorts of problems. He is getting better each game he plays.
The first-half was a spectacle for the spectators. Two teams playing attractive football, and they really was nothing to separate the two teams at the interval. Silva gave us the lead with a bullet like header from a Maxwell delivery that went in off the bar on the half-hour mark. Minutes later, the Portuguese were level via Jackson Martinez. The big Colombian gave us problems all night, getting behind the defence and brining out a number of sterling saves from Salvatore Sirigu. For the goal, he sneaked in at the back stick to head in Danilo’s teasing ball.
PSG started the better after the break with Pastore and Menez the main architects for our attacks. Our winner was a stroke of real good fortune. Lavezzi’s tame effort at the near post looked to be bread and butter for Helton but it somehow squirmed under his body to the delirium of the Parc.
Porto had their chances after but in the general scheme of things, we contained them well. Sirigu proved his worth but on another night, Porto may have nicked a draw but thankfully it was not to be.
The victory means we go through as group winners (Group A), with 15 points from six games. You would have to look hard to better that down the years and the teams that have are your Barcelona and Manchester United of this world.
It is great for Ancelotti. He has had to make do with some harsh media scrutiny since the weekend but he was bold with the formation and it paid off. However even though we finished top, we may still draw a big hitter such as Real Madrid, Milan or Arsenal who all finished runners-up.
But forget that for now, the night ultimately belongs to Pastore. Well done El Flaco!