The week’s Champions League oxygen was mostly sucked up by Tuesday’s memorable and controversial Manchester United 1-2 Real Madrid match, but with three other second legs also in the books, we’ve now got four of eight quarterfinal spots set: Madrid, Borussia Dortmund, PSG, and Juventus. Next week’s remaining 2nd legs matches will determine the other four: Barcelona-Milan & Schalke-Galatasaray (Tues); Bayern-Arsenal & Málaga-Porto (Wed).
Of this week’s three “lesser” ties, only PSG-Valencia was close. Dortmund convincingly beat Shakhtar 3-0 at home yesterday, to win 5-2 on aggregate, while Juve won 2-0 at home to post a manita on Celtic.
But while the Qatari-funded Parisians had won the 1st leg at the Mestalla a couple weeks ago 2-1, they gave up the goal very late, and also Zlatan saw red in the closing minutes, leaving the door slightly ajar for the Valencia. And indeed, they were down 1-0 at home today at 55′, so that a 2nd Valencia goal would have given them the tie–but then Lavezzi scored for PSG 10 minutes later. It ended 1-1, so PSG go through 3-2 on agg.
As the featured image above show, Lavezzi was excited after scoring. Also shows that the guy belongs in gritty Napoli, not refined Paris! But he did come through with a goal in each leg of this tie. His goal at the Mestalla was created by PSG’s new Brazilian kid Lucas [Rodrigues] Moura da Silva, who quickly displaced Oscar as the most highly hyped young Brazilian not still playing in Brazil.
Here’s Coach Larry with some notes on PSG-Valencia:
I did watch PSG-Val. Snoozer. In the first half, PSG waited for a chance to counter-attack, Valencia didn’t really engage at all. There were only two 1/8 chances both for PSG. Moura played more inside and barely touched the ball. Now keep in mind, Valencia needed 2 goals to have a chance, and one from PSG kills the tie. On one transition, Valencia had a chance to advance quickly, and it took three passes before they advanced a 5th player into PSG’s half. Not attacking third, HALF. And PSG had 7 behind the ball. Obviously, the game turned a little better once the miracle blast from Jonas (Brazilian) went in, that only requiring a very poor square pass from Van Der Wiel and no attempt from Matuidi to head clear. Sadly, this “turn better” wasn’t much more exciting. Valencia controlled the edges and the positional play, but even on their corners, looked no danger on winning crosses as Motta and Alex and whoever else plays in the back, easily won the headers. And the Valencia defense struggled to cleanly win the balls cleared, frittering away the time they needed trying to win balls against 1 or 2 PSG players. One of those times, they did not even win it eventually, gifting the Lavezzi goal defending 4 against 2.
oh, and just to be clear here’s the tweet from Iain MacIntosh:
Just did the washing up. Needed some excitement in my life after that PSG – Valencia game. Boy, did it deliver.
— Iain Macintosh (@iainmacintosh) March 6, 2013
Larry’s notes prompted Edinho to chime in with his own observations:
Watched a bit of the PSG game, mostly because I wanted to catch a sight of Becks and Posh, to see what do he may have come up with for his Parisian phase. Thought Becks was going to come on as he was warming up, but then Ancoletti did to him what Mourinho did to Benzema, explaining later “To replace Motta I had to choose between Gameiro and Beckham and I thought he could bring more attacking energy.” Wonder what Becks thought of being described as having ‘less attacking energy’? He did pace on the sideline in was described elsewhere as an “endless warmup routine”.. Perhaps the PSG contract was for him to do just that – excite les femmes Parisiennes? Aside from this, I was curious about PSG’s level of play against a top Liga side, and was impressed that, after they had been woken up out of the ridiculous idea of playing negatively to hold a single goal lead, their players had pace and control when they turned it on to outmaneuver Valencia, even without man-mountain Ibrahimovic. If Fergie decides to cling on to his job, Mourinho could do worse than cosying up with Becks for a possible 4th Champions league title from a 4th country.
Oui, oui! Becks is trés excitant! Can’t wait to see him warming up in the quarterfinals, as “his” PSG moves towards potential CL glory.