By DAN KARELL
It wasn’t their best performance, but Paris St. Germain’s UEFA Champions League dreams are still alive.
Paris Saint-Germain reached the tournament’s quarterfinal stage for the first time in 18 years after posting a 1-1 draw against Valencia on Wednesday at the Parc des Princes, winning the two legged tie 3-2 on aggregate.
PSG joined Juventus in the quarterfinals on the same day that Juve disposed of Celtic with a 2-0 victory in Turin. The Italian champions entered Wednesday’s second leg riding a 3-0 first-leg advantage and only added to that big advantage.
Valencia forward Jonas scored the match’s opening goal in the 55th minute with a rocket from his right foot, but Ezequiel Lavezzi put PSG back in charge in the 66th, using his thigh to knock a rebound from his own shot into the back of the net.
Playing without Ibrahimovic and the young Italian midfielder Marco Verratti, PSG were boosted by the return of Thiago Silva in defense, and fellow Brazilian Thiago Motta in midfield. It was Motta’s eventual substitution that turned the match on its head.
Juventus showed the world why their club continue to sit on top of the Serie A standings, with a confident 2-0 victory that made the final series total 5-0 for the Italians.
Celtic never stood a chance following Alessandro Matri’s 24th minute finish, putting the Italians up four goals on aggregate, and the homegrown catenaccio style took over from there.
Neil Lennon’s side have plenty to be proud of this season, but they’ll surely try their best to forget their two matches against Juventus this season. In both matches, Celtic had more possession, more shots on goal, and created more chances overall. Yet it was the clinical finishing of Juventus that proved to be one of the many differences in the two sides on these occasions.
Here are the match highlights from Wednesday’s UEFA Champions League matches:
PARIS ST. GERMAIN 1, VALENCIA 1
JUVENTUS 2, CELTIC 0
What did you think of Wednesday’s matches? Think Juventus can win the Champions League this year? Disappointed with PSG’s play on Wednesday? Think they just missed Ibrahimovic?
Share your thoughts below.