Valencia gave themselves hope of a second-leg comeback against Paris Saint-Germain as Adil Rami’s 90th minute goal reduced their arrears to 2-1 heading to the second-leg of their Champions League last-16 tie in the French capital in three weeks’ time. The late drama and disappointing finish for PSG to an otherwise excellent performance was compounded as Zlatan Ibrahimovic was shown a red card.
Up to that point Carlo Ancelotti’s side had looked primed to secure a quarterfinal berth following first-half goals from Argentinians Ezequiel Lavezzi and Javier Pastore.
Both sides had been in fine form coming into the contest, with PSG six points clear in Ligue 1 and Valencia having picked up dramatically since Ernesto Valverde took over as manager in early December.
It appeared an evenly-matched contest, but the big-spending visitors soon got an always highly desired away goal from one of their many major signings. Lavezzi exchanged passes with Pastore on the edge of the box before surging past defender Ricardo Costa and then unleashing a venomous shot at goal that went straight through the arms of goalkeeper Vicente Guaita.
It was a fine piece of play from the former Napoli forward, but Guaita really should have kept the ball at bay.
It was a similar situation when PSG doubled their lead two minutes before half time. Latest big-money signing Lucas Moura terrorized Valencia’s weakened left side of defense as he surged too easily past makeshift fullback Andres Guardado and pulled the ball back smartly to Pastore 12 yards from goal who struck a low first-time effort that went through Guaita’s legs.
It was all looking good for PSG, but as the match was about to tick into injury time. Tino Costa curled a dangerous free-kick inside the six-yard box at the far post and PSG keeper Salvatore Sirigu stayed on his line, allowing Rami to volley home unmarked from close range.
And PSG suffered another blow when Ibrahimovic saw red for a moment of madness that will see him miss the return leg and two further European matches.
After tussling with one Valencia player, Ibrahimovic then went in over the ball in a ridiculous challenge on Guardado and the referee showed no hesitation in producing a red card.
Valencia vs PSG 1:2 MATCH HIGHLIGHTS by UCL2410
To contact the editor, e-mail: