PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN 1-1 Valencia C.F (3-2)
1970 PSG Man Of The Match: Blaise Matuidi
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The performance was far from pretty, perhaps not the best spectacle for the neutral but what an incredible atmosphere in the Parc des Princes last night as Paris Saint-Germain sealed a quarter-final place in the Champions League for the first time in 18-years.
It is without question, a massive step in the recent history of this football club. Not only by booking a place in the last-eight of the Euopean Cup but also overcoming a European stalwart in the form of Valencia.
Los Che turned up and without doubt played the better football on the night. They were confident, patient, and the link-up play was superb. Jonas scored an absolute cracker just after half-time and you could feel the anxiety in the Parc afterwards but the visitors fully merited their lead at that time. Thankfully for us, Ezequiel Lavezzi popped up in the 66th minute to level up on the night and register a 3-2 aggregate win to send us through.
The formation of the team was not surprising but some of the personnel Carlo Ancelotti opted for were. It looked a certainty that Kevin Gameiro would start in place of Zlatan Ibrahimovic who was suspended but instead the Italian opted to play Lucas Moura alongside Ezequiel Lavezzi in a two man attack. Javier Pastore operated down the left wing with Clement Chantome on the other. Thiago Motta returned to central midfield alongside Blaise Matuidi as the skipper Thiago Silva led the team out after two months out via injury.
In hindsight, Gameiro should have started – in my opinion. When he came on after the Spaniards had taken the lead he changed the whole dynamic. We looked more of a threat going forward, there was an impetus and it was his sparkling run which led to Lavezzi scoring. The Argentine had a second bite of the cherry after Vicente Guaita saved his initial shot before tucking the ball home with his thigh.
That sent the Parc des Princes into absolute delirium and the atmosphere in the stadium had been tremendous all night, starting with the red and blue mosaic around the ground when the players lined up for the anthem. Those supporters have waited a long time for nights like these and were fully rewarded when the final whistle went.
The scenes of Mamadou Sakho and Blaise Matuidi – two of the home-grown boys – skipping around the pitch and swinging their shirts over their heads was a truly magical sight. It really epitomised the relief and exuberance oozing from the pours from everyone affiliated to the club. Even Thiago Silva, the captain, who was outstanding on his return, shed tears upon the final whistle. It really was a magical experience.
Now joining the likes of Real Madrid, Juventus and Borussia Dortmund in the hat for the draw next week, do we dare dream of a place at Wembley? Why not!