A Zlatan Ibrahimovic-less Paris Saint-Germain limped past Valencia at the Parc de Princes and into the UEFA Champions League quarterfinals. After a 2-1 win at the Mestalla, the hosts were in the driver's seat, and a draw -- it ended up 1-1 -- suited them just fine. That meant they were more than happy to leave the game incredibly dull.
The first half was boring. Completely, devastatingly boring. With Zlatan suspended, PSG decided that Ezequiel Lavezzi would be the focal point of the attack, and despite the tricky winger playing well, he wasn't doing anything centre-forward and as a result the home side offered up basically no threat. It was more difficult to understand why Valencia didn't either, but the ways of football are strange indeed.
And then, in the 55th minute, something happened! Blaise Matuida managed to lose possession at the top of the PSG box, and the ball eventually fell to Jonas. The 28-year-old had it all to do, but he used Alex as a screen before sending an rocket past the unsighted Salvatore Sirigu and into the back of the net. That brought the tie to level pegging on aggregate, although the hosts still had the advantage on away goals. But now they had to sweat a little.
Carlo Ancelotti's response was to deploy Kevin Gameiro for Thiago Motta, adding an actual striker to the fray. It worked. Within eight minutes of taking the field, Gameiro's hard work led to a PSG equaliser. It was a hugely lucky one, but it wouldn't have happened without the substitute trying to dribble his way through three white shirts on the edge of Vicente Guaita's box. Eventually, the ball broke to Lavezzi who saw his first shot stopped but finished off the rebound with his thigh.
And then things went back to boring. Yeah, Los Che pressed the attack a little bit more, but they never looked anything like forcing their hosts into extra time. And so PSG and a whole lot of oil money advance to the quarterfinals. Hopefully they'll be more interesting when Ibrahimovic gets back.
I hope the rest of you had something better to do with your time.
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