PSG beats Porto 2-1 to take top spot in Group A
Paris Saint-Germain coach Carlo Ancelotti will be feeling better
about his future after watching his team bounce back from a run of
poor domestic form to beat FC Porto 2-1 in the Champions League on
Tuesday and seal top spot in Group A.
In a closely contested match, Brazil center half Thiago Silva
headed PSG in front in the 29th minute, only for Colombia striker
Jackson Martinez to equalize four minutes later.
It was another South American, Argentina winger Ezequiel
Lavezzi, who scored PSG’s winning goal in the 61st.
The win will boost PSG’s morale and life some pressure off
Ancelotti following three losses in the past five league games and
last week’s elimination from the League Cup quarterfinals. On the
eve of the match, there were reports that he was close to losing
”It was a good performance from us and we needed it to get the
quality, attitude and spirit of the team back,” Ancelotti said.
”The players responded well tonight, as the criticism had been
The Italian had threatened radical changes and demanded instant
improvement, and he was happy with the response.
”All the players showed a good attitude and played for the
team, which shows that the relations aren’t too bad,” Ancelotti
said, when asked if this will ease the tensions within the squad.
”If we show the same attitude in the league I am sure things will
PSG tops the group with 15 points. Porto is next with 13, while
Dynamo Kiev finished third to reach the Europa League.
”It’s very important to finish in first place, and to have
played good football with character and quality,” Ancelotti
But Ancelotti’s relief may prove to be short-lived as PSG has a
potentially tough match in the next round, as Arsenal, AC Milan and
Real Madrid all finished second in their groups.
”It will be a difficult draw because a lot of (good) teams
finished in second place,” Ancelotti said.
PSG started brightly and winger Jeremy Menez slipped the ball in
behind the defense for Javier Pastore, whose first-time cross was
met by striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic at the near post to flash wide
Menez was involved again in the 10th minute, running onto
midfielder Blaise Matuidi’s clipped pass over the defense and
hitting a dangerous low cross that was cut out for a corner.
Shortly afterward, Martinez had Porto’s first shot following a
lost possession by Silva, but his fiercely struck effort flew past
the right post.
Menez was PSG’s most dangerous player in the first half and it
was his darting run down the left which drew a foul and led to the
opening goal. Maxwell whipped in a free kick, and Silva rose above
the defense to nod the ball in off the underside of the
”What we needed was concentration, which we didn’t have,”
Porto coach Vitor Pereira said. ”We managed to come back into the
game once, but not twice … But this will be a good lesson for the
Poor marking from Silva, however, allowed Martinez to sneak in
behind at the back post and head in right back Danilo’s cross from
PSG combined spells of electric attacking moves with periods of
disjointed play and a lack of ideas. Porto’s seamless passing and
movement, allied to athletic running down the flanks, gave the
Portuguese side a more cohesive look.
”A few times we had problems when we defended too deep (in the
first half), so I told the players to close down higher up the
pitch,” Ancelotti said.
Porto goalkeeper Helton’s agility kept the scores level at the
break. Ibrahimovic almost lobbed him with an instinctive snap
header after latching onto Silva’s headed flick on in the penalty
PSG should have gone ahead early in the second half when Alex’s
pass released Menez down the left, but he took too long to line up
his shot and that allowed Danilo time to close him down.
Menez’s fine dribbling ability goes in tandem with his wasteful
finishing, and he confirmed his reputation as an inconsistent
scorer when he blasted the ball straight at Helton after Javier
Pastore had played him in perfectly.
PSG then went ahead following a quickly worked corner. Menez
passed to Lavezzi, and Helton allowed his low shot to squeeze past
him and into the bottom corner.
”We have to react well to this match,” Porto midfielder Joao
Moutinho said. ”We created chances but we could not win. ”
Porto missed a great chance to equalize when Martinez found
space inside the penalty area, only to be denied by a point-blank
save from goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu in the 79th. The rebound fell
to Lucho Gonzalez, who blazed the ball high over the crossbar with
the goal at his mercy, prompting howls of derision from the crowd
at Parc des Princes.
Ibrahimovic, who had a quiet match, was jeered by the home fans
for trying an extravagant shot from 25 meters, rather than pass the
ball to an unmarked Menez.
To make matters worse, the imposing Swede then shot wide from
six yards. Pastore, having his best game of a troubled season in
which he has been in and out of the team, went close with a
glancing header in the 88th.
”(Pastore) worked for the team, he defended, he had a fine
game,” Ancelotti said.