Les Parisiens were uninspiring, but they ultimately had enough to see off the challenge of Los CheParis Saint-Germain were made to work hard for a 1-1 draw against Valencia on Wednesday evening at Parc des Princes, a result that saw Carlo Ancelotti’s side qualify for the quarter-finals of the Champions League for the first time since 1995 with a 3-2 aggregate success.
In what was an affair lacking in quality and excitement for long periods, the Spaniards grabbed the lead thanks to a stunning strike from Jonas early in the second half that was of a standard not in keeping with what had preceded it.
PSG, who were lacking the suspended pair of Marco Verratti and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, battled back quickly, though, and Ezequiel Lavezzi scrambled them level.
From the outset it was clear that the home side were in an indecisive mood, and this allowed Valencia to set the tempo for much of the game. Although they struggled to test Salvatore Sirigu in the home goal, los Che deservedly grabbed the lead 10 minutes into the second period when Jonas blasted home with his unflavoured right foot from the edge of the area.
Ancelotti responded by introducing Kevin Gameiro, and the substitute would play a key role in invigorating the previously stale home side. A positive run through the centre of defence was rewarded by a lucky break that saw the ball break to Lavezzi, who needed two attempts to ultimately beat Vicente Guaita with his knee.
Even this equalising goal struggled to prompt much of a reaction from the home side, who had to withstand a good deal of pressure from their guests in the closing stages, with Alex and Thiago Silva outstanding in the heart of their defence while Blaise Matuidi’s energy in the centre of the field helped subdue Valencia.
The Spaniards would regret their failure to make headway earlier in the match. Despite bossing the game, Sirigu was rarely seriously tested.
With quarter of an hour gone, Roberto Soldado should have made the Italian work harder when he got a clear sight of goal, and a rather scuffed effort wide from Tino Costa with half an hour played rather summed up their efforts.
Only Jonas would show any serious intent during the opening period, but his shot in the 45th minute was punched clear by Sirigu.
The Brazil international was ultimately to be on the losing side, but this was a fate dictated by his side’s defeat in Spain rather than their considerable efforts in the French capital. For the part of PSG, they looked a side well short of the quality to be serious Champions League contenders.