Mamadou Sakho

Paris Saint-Germain Defender Mamadou Sakho Completes £16m Move to Liverpool

Mamadou SakhoLiverpool have completed some shrewd acquisitions to their squad during the summer transfer window, especially in defense. The Reds looked vulnerable in defense this pre-season with the loss of Jamie Carragher to retirement earlier in the summer, and with the recent news of Sebastian Coates suffering a season-ending injury while on international duty, it didn’t look all too bright in the back.

Liverpool looked short of center-backs with only Martin Skrtel, Martin Kelly, and Andre Wisdom able to partner Daniel Agger in central defense, but the addition of Kolo Toure on a free transfer from Manchester City has added quality and experience to their defensive line. Liverpool added another two defenders on the last day of the transfer window with the signings of Tiago Ilori from Sporting Lisbon and Mamadou Sakho from Paris Saint Germain. Ilori is only 20 years old but stands at 6′ 3″ and is very quick, while 23 year-old Sakho is a French international that has made 14 appearances for his country and has played 151 times for Paris Saint Germain. Tiago Ilori might not go straight into the team and be a certain prospect for the future, but Sakho could easily become a regular starter for Liverpool this season.

Sakho is still very young but is also very experienced. He plays primarily as a center-back but can also play as a left-back if necessary. He is renowned for his leadership and hard-working attitude as well as his great tackling abilities. Sakho is an intimidating sight - standing at 6′ 2″ - and almost always has an eccentric hair style. The French International made his debut for Paris Saint Germain in October of 2007 when manager Paul Le Guen gave the defender his first chance. On his league debut, he became the youngest ever player to captain a Ligue 1 club after wearing the armband in the club’s 0-0 draw with Valenciennes.

Sakho’s playing style is often compared to that of former French International Lilian Thuram. He has earned caps and captained France at every youth level before being capped at senior level. Sakho helped lead Paris Saint Germain to their 2008 Coupe de la Ligue victory after playing the full 90 minutes in a 2-1 win over Lens. The victory earned Sakho his first major trophy of his career, and he made a total of 16 appearances during the season.

Mamadou SakhoThe following season Sakho madea much-larger 34 appearances and helped Paris Saint Germain to second in the league. The defender has a wealth of experience for someone so young and Liverpool have targeted him as the ideal player for their defense by paying a sum of £16 million for his service. Liverpool are quite a small team in terms of height, which can leave them vulnerable at set-pieces, so Sakho’s physique and height will help Liverpool in these situations.

The leadership that Jamie Carragher gave to the team was so important as most of Liverpool’s defenders are quiet, so Sakho will be a great replacement for Carragher’s leadership skills, as he is very good at organizing the back line. Liverpool have struggled against big, powerful strikers during the last couple of seasons, so Mamadou Sakho’s arrival will help deal with that problem because he is a physical defender who is not scared to put his foot in.

Liverpool’s squad is looking stronger this season with the wonderful additions that Brendan Rodgers has made. There is a good mix of youth and experience in the squad and plenty of competition for places in every position. During the summer, it looked like Liverpool were going to be very short of defenders and strikers, although the midfield department looked strong. The Reds also looked like they were going to lose their star striker Luis Suarez, so keeping him has been massive achievement for the club as he tried to manufacture a move away for most of the summer. Brendan Rodgers and Liverpool’s owners dealt with Suarez superbly and it seems like he is now happy to stay and continue his career at Liverpool for at least another season.

Liverpool also signed Victor Moses from Chelsea on a season-long loan, which will help Liverpool’s attack and the development of youngsters like Sterling, Ibe and Morgan. But Liverpool’s defense suddenly also looks very strong, with Johnson, Kelly, Flanagan, and Wisdom competing for right-back position and Wisdom, Kelly, Ilori, Sakho, Agger, and Skrtel competing for the two positions in the center of defense. Liverpool also have options at left-back with Enrique and new signing Cissokho when he returns from injury, while there is also the option of switching Glen Johnson to left-back as well.

Liverpool don’t have the added fixtures this season that the inclusion in European competition creates, so that will help Liverpool concentrate on challenging for a top four place. In only Brendan Rodgers’ second season in charge, his team are now starting to take shape after moving players out who don’t suit his style of play and bringing players in that could take Liverpoool forward, and Mamadou Sakho will certainly play a major role in Liverpool’s success.

Written by Jamie McLaughlin

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PSG Sign 19-Year-Old Marquinhos from AS Roma in €35m Deal

MarquinhosMarquinhos, the 19-year-old highly rated center back, recently completed his move from AS Roma to Ligue 1 big-spenders Paris Saint-Germain. The young Brazilian attracted interest in many European clubs, such as Barcelona, but in the end, the youngster signed for the French to join his compatriot Thiago Silva in PSG’s defense. Marquinhos himself commented on his move and admitted that his relationship with Thiago Silva and PSG’s other Brazilians played a big role.

Indeed, Marquinhos is expected to slot into PSG’s defensive line effortlessly. Having earned himself a spot in AS Roma’s starting lineup in a very impressive manner, the young Brazilian will look to do the same in France, and in the process, try to learn as much as he can from Thiago Silva, who might well be one of the best center backs in the world at this moment.

As a €35 million signing, Marquinhos surely represents a risk as well. The player has only featured in 36 games at the senior level, which is very little for a player as expensive as him. However, his transfer fee proves that big clubs have seen his talent and have faith in him, which could be a very good decision in the long run. There is simply no reason to believe that Marquinhos couldn’t be a success in PSG. He is fast, dynamic, and despite not being the physically biggest defender in the market, he surely possesses a considerable amount of physical strength as well.

In many ways, Marquinhos represents the new generation of center backs who aren’t only comfortable chasing the ball, but equally comfortable with it as well. Just like a modern center back is expected to, he can build the game from the back, urge forward every now and then and also operate in small spaces to escape the opponent’s pressing game.

With all these traits, it’s easy to see why PSG wanted to invest in Marquinhos. Not only is he a great center back as a 19-year-old, but most definitely has the potential to be one of the greatest over the course of the next ten years or so. With Thiago Silva still being very much in his prime, the two can form a solid center back duo in the next few years, and as Silva approaches the later stages of his career, the French club will have a replacement waiting in line.

MarquinhosFor Marquinhos himself, PSG represents an opportunity to not only learn, but to seal himself a spot in the Brazilian national team. The Confederations Cup Champions’ defense is currently dominated by Marquinho’s new teammate Thiago Silva, Chelsea’s David Luiz, and Bayern Munich’s Dante. In PSG, Marquinhos will be exposed to European football against some of the best players in the world, which will most likely - despite his young age - make him a suitable candidate for Seleção Brasileira in the near future.

With the World Cup approaching, Marquinhos will surely look to make an impression from day one, just like he did in AS Roma. In Marquinhos, PSG have a center back who can make an immediate impact. Perhaps even more importantly, he’s a player for the future who can dominate the French club’s defense for the next decade. Suddenly, when you look at the big picture, his €35 million price-tag almost seems like a bargain.

Knowing Marquinhos, it’s almost certain that PSG will have to fight to keep their new Brazilian star in the future. To lure him this summer, they already had to compete with European clubs such as Barcelona and Manchester United. If the youngster impresses in France, the interest from big European clubs is only likely to increase. Being tipped to be the “new Thiago Silva”, the pressure on Marquinhos is surely high. However, it remains interesting to see what the undoubtedly talented 19-year-old can do alongside his idol in PSG, who without a question have a diamond in their hands.

Written by Jen Evelyn

PSG Look to Dominate Europe as they Sign Edinson Cavani from Napoli for Record Fee

Edinson CavaniSince Qatari Sports Investments bought Paris Saint-Germain in 2011, they have rapidly transformed from perennial under-achievers to the dominant force in French football and real contenders for the Champions League.

They followed the example of Manchester City by blowing other clubs out of the water in the transfer market, signing Javier Pastore, Lucas Moura, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Thiago Silva, and now Edinson Cavani for an eye-watering total of almost £200million. The quality in their ranks is obvious, but with the nouveau-riche AS Monaco hot on their heels in the transfer market, can PSG become a new world superpower?

In truth, Paris is not a football city. Marseille is considered the true footballing capital of the country, and PSG’s Parc des Princes is located on the edge of the city, in the suburbs. Paris’ other clubs have either gone out of business or languish in the lower divisions, giving PSG a unique advantage over its rivals because it has no competition, with no first or second division clubs within 100km.

Whereas Real Madrid have to compete with Atletico, Manchester United with noisy neighbors City, Inter with AC Milan, and Bayern Munich to an extent with lowly 1860, PSG have no competition for fans and the best young players of the region. This being the case, there was always potential for PSG to become a big force in Europe, but the club didn’t experience their true heyday until the 1990′s, when they were bought by TV giants Canal+.

Football stars such as George Weah, Rai, Jay-Jay Okocha, and Ronaldinho passed through the club, and despite early successes, they slumped down the table and were almost relegated in 2008. Since Nasser Al-Khelaifi and the QSI completed their takeover in 2012 however, their rise has been meteoric and so far unchallenged. Al-Khelaifi bought the club for less than the infamous Venkys paid for Blackburn Rovers, and has since referred to PSG as a “project.” Other fans use this as a derogatory term, saying that PSG no longer exists and has been replaced by ‘the project’.

Giants such as Carlo Ancelotti and Leonardo were brought in to manage the club and did so successfully, winning Ligue 1 in 2012 and enjoying a successful Champions League campaign; they only bowed out on away goals after draws with Barcelona.

PSGAlthough Zlatan Ibrahimovic led the line in the league with 30 goals, he played a more withdrawn role in Europe, holding the ball up and creating goals with strong center-forward play. He scored three and assisted five in the Champions League, with goals shared round the team; Ezequiel Lavezzi was the top scorer with five in nine European appearances.

Despite these impressive figures, it was not all smooth sailing for the journeyman Swede, as he was sent off in the 92nd minute of the first leg victory over Valencia for a cynical foul on Mexican winger Andres Guardado, leaving his team without their star striker for the crucial second leg. They survived it and went through to play Barcelona in the quarter-finals.

The standout performer across both legs was their influential captain, Brazilian defender Thiago Silva. Silva was calm and composed during the 2-2 draw in the first leg, always there when it mattered to win the ball from Messi, Villa, Iniesta and co. After putting in such a stoic performance, he was visibly exasperated by his teammates when a penalty was conceded, and converted, in the 90th minute, but was as jubilant as anyone when Blaise Matuidi humiliated Victor Valdes four minutes later with the last kick of the match. PSG led for 20 minutes of the second leg and were only put under pressure with the introduction of Lionel Messi, and although they hung on for a draw they were unable to find the goal to take them through.

Carlo Ancelotti has left to manage Real Madrid and Leonardo has stepped down from his position, so new manager Laurent Blanc needed to make a statement upon his arrival. He already had possibly the best center-forward and the best center-half in the world, a Brazilian superstar forward and a dependable defense and midfield, so what could he possibly do? Bring in one of Ibra’s rivals to challenge for the “best center-forward in the world” title, that’s what.

Edinson Cavani arrived for a gigantic £55million fee after scoring 38 goals in 43 goals for Napoli last season, giving PSG one of the most potent forward lines in recent history. Some have said that the signing was made as a show of power, especially to new rivals Monaco, who signed Falcao for a similar fee, but also to the rest of the footballing world.

Edinson CavaniChelsea, Manchester City and Real Madrid were also looking to capture the Uruguayan’s signature, but he was lured away from established superpowers to the relatively small world of French football. Others feel his arrival signals the end of Ibra’s stay in France, with rumors he is unhappy about the appointment of new manager Blanc. Having now played in France, Italy, Spain, Holland, and Sweden, Germany or England seem the most likely destinations for a man who has never spent more than four years at one club. English fans, just imagine: a duo of Ibrahimovic and Mourinho taking the Premier League by storm, mouth-watering stuff.

The main question seems to be whether PSG can maintain their current strength. The biggest names want to be in the biggest leagues, and the draw of Qatari dollars only lasts so long. In this respect, Monaco’s rise could even be a good thing for PSG. Last season was less than competitive with Les Parisiens finishing 12 points clear of Marseille in second.

With the two richest clubs almost guaranteed the top two spots, it may even encourage other clubs to splash the cash to stay competitive, and the success of the two clubs may encourage other wealthy people to invest in the country’s football. For now, however, it seems that the only way is up for Paris Saint-Germain, and as the locals sing, “Allez les Parisiens!”

Written by Sam France

David Beckham: Loan Spells at AC Milan and the Triumphant Last Days with PSG

David BeckhamOn October 30, 2008, David Beckham revealed that he would be joining AC Milan on loan, a loan spell which began in January of 2009. However, despite this and other speculation, Beckham made clear his intentions to return to Galaxy for the start of the new MLS season in March. He chose to wear the number 32 shirt, as the number 7 and 23 shirts were taken by Alexandre Pato and Massimo Ambrosini respectively. He was introduced to the Milan crowd at the San Siro before the match against Udinese, and he spoke the words “Forza Milan” through the clubs address system.

After recovering from fitness issues, Beckham made his Milan debut on January 6, 2009 in a friendly against Hamburg at Dubai’s Sevens Stadium. He made his competitive debut for Milan in Serie A as a starter away at AS Roma on January 11, 2009, playing 89 minutes of the 2-2 draw at the Stadio Olympico. He turned back to Milan on loan for a second time in November 2009, once the MLS season had ended. He would make his 2nd competitive debut for Milan on January 6, 2010 and would play 75 minutes of a 5-2 victory over Genoa.

On February 16, 2010, Beckham played against Manchester United for the first time since leaving the club in 2003. He played 76 minutes of the match at the San Siro, a match which Manchester United won 3-2. He would then return to Old Trafford for the second leg of the Champions League quarter final tie against Manchester United, and would get a more than warm welcome back to the club. He didn’t start the match, but was subbed on in place of Ignazio Abate on the 64th minute. The score at that point was already 3-0 to Manchester United, but the match ended 4-0 to United, and it ended with a 7-2 aggregate score line in favor of the Premier League side.

Following the final whistle, Beckham got caught up in controversy after putting a green and gold scarf around his name (the colors of Newton Heath). It was a scarf given to him by a fan at the game, and it was in support of protests against the club owner Malcolm Glazer. However, when asked about whether he was in support of the on-going protests, Beckham responded by saying they are not his business. In Milan’s next game, Beckham suffered a torn left Achilles tendon, which caused him to miss the MLS season and the World Cup. It was an injury that left him out of action for 5 months.

David BeckhamOn January 29,  2013, Beckham began training with Arsenal, but any deal was quashed straight away by manager Arsene Wenger as the sole reason for Beckham being there was to improve fitness. Ahead of Transfer Deadline Day on January 31st, it was announced that Beckham was undergoing a medical with Paris Saint-Germain ahead of a potential move to the Ligue 1 side. He signed a 5-month contract at the club and also confirmed that his entire salary at the club would be donated to the local children’s charity.

He made his PSG debut on February 24 when he came off the bench in the 76th minute in a Ligue 1 home match against Olympique Marseille. This made him the 400th player in the history of their club. On May 12, 2013, Beckham won a fourth different top flight winners’ medal after PSG beat Lyon 1-0 to claim the Ligue 1 title.

On May 16, 2013, Beckham announced that he was to retire from professional football at the end of the French league season. He made his final ever professional appearance on May 18 against Brest and was made captain for the game. He assisted a goal scored eventually by Matuidi from a corner. He was subbed off after 80 minutes, and received hugs from his fellow players as well as a standing ovation from all fans inside the ground. PSG went on to win the game 3-1.

Written by OneFutbol

Barcelona 1-1 PSG: Impressive Tactical Displays From Both Sides Result in Draw

Barcelona 1-1 PSGWe all knew Barcelona were going to end up going through, didn’t we? But I don’t think anyone could have guessed just how well and almost perfectly tactically set-out Ancelotti’s PSG were going to be.

The game ended 1-1, but in all honesty that scoreline wasn’t true to PSG’s immaculate frontal display against Barcelona at the Camp Nou. Having taken the lead early on in the second half through Pastore, PSG were only to be ridden of a Champions League semi-final spot by the inspiration of a half-fit Messi, who was subbed on with 30 minutes to go.

Ancelotti opted for a more than suitable squad to face a depleted Barcelona. Choosing Verratti over the demoted David Beckham, and with Motta back from injury, replacing the suspended Matuidi, PSG’s midfield was the perfect combatant to Barca’s exotic total footballing tempo.

Also, suiting the same front-three of Lucas behind Ibrahimovic and Lavezzi proved cunning at most times and too much for Barca’s ragged defense Typically, the same back four was assigned. Vilanova opted for the false-9, with Messi not fully fit and many other injured players, he struggled for a full team.

Opting a typical Alves/Alba wing-back scenario for Barca to attack PSG’s open flanks was always going to be the case; however, with Mascherano and Puyol out injured, Vilanova was forced to choose a center back pairing of Pique and Adriano. Adriano, predominantly a left-back, had a fairly reasonable game until he was injured.

Vilanova fielded a typical midfield of Busquets lying deep behind Xavi, and then Iniesta for Barcelona with Pedro and Villa as inside forwards on both wings, and Fabregas executing the false-9.

Right now, Thiago Silva is the best center back in the world, and alongside Alex, they have a special Brazilian partnership that isn’t easy to breakdown. Barcelona starting with a false-9 in Fabregas; they evidently struggled to create the flowing surge of tiki-taka that they usually do with Messi leading the lines.

Obviously, against Silva, Fabregas as a false-9 is going to be anything but effective; Silva’s mental awareness and experience overlapped Fabregas’ attempts to draw him or Alex out of the line to create a hole for Pedro or Villa to run into.

Barcelona 1-1 PSGPSG’s back four was simply impressive for the full 90 minutes, and it wasn’t notable of a single anomaly the entire game. Ancelotti wisely had his defense drilled into a solid lateral line, proving no gaps and no expenses. Verratti sitting just above it, holding the midfield and covering LB/RB when going forward, did a sensational job breaking up Barca’s play, too.

Motta and Pastore, sitting just above Verratti, also had their sensational moments. Motta was the deeper out of the two, helping to provide cover alongside Verratti whereas Pastore typically went to aid Moura in distribution to Ibrahimovic and Lavezzi upfront.

PSG’s tactics were working well; they were playing with intelligence through the middle on the counter, taking advantage of a helpless trio of Pique, Adriano, and Busquets as typically Alves and Alba flanked.

As always, everything for Barcelona was midfield possession, inside off-the-ball runs, diagonal through balls, and blistering driving dribbles from Iniesta and Xavi. Typically, they had a fair bit of possession with a total of 63% at the end of the night and with a pass completion of 89%, and you could see why.

Barcelona exploited the flanks in the first leg with Alves and Alba overlapping as support and overpowering PSG’s centralized tactics, however, PSG sought out with a similar tactic this leg and saw Barca doing the same. Villa often cut in through the gap of Silva and Maxwell as Fabregas dropped deep and Iniesta/Xavi layed off to Alves, who took use of the open space Villa had created.

Altogether, they were driving to the byline and attempting cut-backs, likewise the left-side with Pedro and Alba. Although, for me, Pedro wasn’t offering any advantage points other than ending up scoring and being the tie-winner (typical). Xavi recorded a sensational 100% pass completion record that night, with a total of 96 passes which included 8 long balls.

PSG’s goal was sheer counter-attacking brilliance, which nested from Barca pressing very high. Pastore picked the ball up and drove forward with Ibrahimovic and Lavezzi ahead. Alves and Alba, nowhere to be found as having pushed up to flank, so it was 3 on 3 as Busquets drops to cover and protect the center-backs.

Barcelona 1-1 PSGNo organisation between the three and sitting very central and tight, Pastore drove centrally with the ball as Ibrahimovic was sitting in the middle. Ibrahimovic pulled off to receive a pass from Pastore while Lavezzi flanked round the back, distracting Adriano and proving him void. Ibrahimovic then completed the one-two with Pastore who was now past Pique and belting towards goal with Lavezzi in support.

However, he decided to go alone and eventually drove just wide of where he preferably wanted to be, still slotted home coolly, hitting his shot into the ground and then just getting enough spin to go over Valdes’ leg and into the net.

From here, PSG didn’t do the typical, which was to sit back and invite Barca on, as there was still 40 minutes to be played. In fact, they drove forward in pursuit of a second goal. Chances were coming and PSG looked more likely to score a second than Barca did a first for a while.

Then came the hour mark and it was time, Vilanova could wait no longer and of course, Messi was brought into the fray in replace of a struggling Fabregas. Obviously, this was a desperate attempt to win as Messi wasn’t fit, or he would have started, but nonetheless it succeeded.

The uproar was humongous as he trotted on and the entire stadium lit up, including the tempo of Barcelona’s play. Clearly, it was a superb tactical substitution. The spark was there, Barca just needed the right opportunity to arise and take hold of it.

Eventually, it did, as Barca scored a typical ‘Barcelona goal’ on the 70th minute. Created from deep-left and on the counter, Barcelona’s tie-winning goal was as formidable and unstoppable as any.

With most of PSG’s midfield at the other end of the field, Messi was deep in the gap left between them and the defense. Once he received the ball, Messi drove ferociously with it, taking on a player before slotting Villa through, who was closely watched and marked by Silva. Laying off to Pedro, unmarked at the edge of the box, he lashed a superb unsaveable shot into Sirigu’s net.

PSG attempted to get back into the game, but found no vantage point as Barcelona held off the formidable attacks and long balls for the remaining 20 minutes of the game. Eventually, the full-time whistle was blown, and Barca, who were no doubt the worse team on the night, were through to the semis on the away-goals rule.

Barcelona 1-1 PSGHonestly, PSG played with a raw tenacity that I haven’t seen a team (other than Madrid) approach them with in a long time over two legs. They dominated in having better chances, and although not in possession and overall statistics, they were the better team on the night.

Ancelotti set them out with initiative tactics of a central mechanism that Barca were unable to cope with, especially against a front-man of Ibrahimovic at 6′ 5″; although doing nothing spectacular on the night, his hold up play and general distribution of the ball was sublime and was involved in the majority of PSG’s attacks.

Barca, typically using their wing-backs to flank, created a diversity of an overpowering tempo and distribution from the middle into the channels and round the back, eventually securing them a semi-final slot with the equalizing and tie-winning goal on the night.

Although, definitely not at their typical best this season, Barca are brewed with a winning mentality of Champions, and with Messi, they can still go all the way in the competition.

Written by ManToManMarking

Paris Saint-Germain 1-1 Valencia: PSG Through to Quarter Finals With Draw

Paris Saint-Germain 1-1 ValenciaIt certainly wasn’t an easy trip to Valencia for Carlo Ancelotti and his squad in the first leg of this Champions League tie, but they managed to take a significant lead while there, and this was a huge positive for them as they headed into the second leg.

Although Valencia had only just drawn against Levante the previous weekend, the Spaniards were, in no way, feeling like underdogs before this game. PSG hadn’t had a nice weekend either, as their number one spot was threatened, but the home advantage (plus the away goals) gave them the upper hand going into this game.

Any mistakes, however, and the French side would lose it all, and for this, Carlo Ancelotti lined up a very strong squad, as did his counterpart, Ernesto Valverde. Carlo wasn’t looking to park the bus at Parc des Princes in any way!

The first half started with both sides very strong and determined. The visitors were, undoubtedly, in a hurry to try and get an away goal even from the first few minutes, but their hosts were determined to keep that from happening. The home side were, for the most part, beaten to challenges and outplayed in midfield, but they somehow managed to get things back. Sirigu was the busier goalkeeper for the first half, although Guaita had to make some tough saves as well.

Valencia had more possession and created more chances than their hosts in the first 45 minutes of the match, managing a total of 6 decent attempts. Jonas had a great first half although he was prevented from capitalizing on any of his chances by a strong PSG defense. Lucas was also very impressive in the first half for his side. A Jonas-Soldado combination seemed to be working so much better than what the home side had brought out (Lavezzi), in what concerns attack.

Paris Saint-Germain 1-1 ValenciaThe second half started off the same way the first half had, but with the tempo a bit higher. There was more urgency in the Valencia play as ever, while Banega came on for Albelda. The away side was faster and passed better, but the home side had also improved in many areas. Jonas finally got his break 10 minutes into the second half, when a wonderful strike from outside the penalty area got past a strong Sirigu straight into the back of the net to bring back some encouragement to the Valencia team.

One more goal, and they were through! Valencia picked up their pace as they looked to find the net again with the introduction of Piatti (in for Feghouli). Unfortunately for Valencia, though, Piatti had only been on for 3 minutes until Lavezzi got an equalizer for his side. It was now one step forward, two steps back for Valencia.

Although the La Liga side still had about 23 minutes plus added time to score, the PSG defense had intensified at this point, making a comeback almost impossible. It continued to be a 50-50 game from this point on, as both sides were under pressure in defense. David Beckham was warming up on the side, but there was to be no Champions League PSG debut for him on the night. Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who wasn’t named on the PSG squad for the night, was watching his team in a lot of anticipation, clearly itching to be part of the action.

Valencia continued to look for another goal in the 3 minutes that were added on at the end of the match, but to no avail. The final whistle couldn’t have come any sooner for the home side, and the sighs from the PSG players at full time were enough proof!

Paris Saint-Germain 1-1 ValenciaStatistic-wise, the away side were the stronger team, leading on overall possession and attempts off target. Meanwhile, the home side were much stronger defensively. Valencia’s passes were, overall, more successful for the whole game, except during the last 7 to 10 minutes when they seemed to have been demoralized.

PSG were stronger on counter-attacks and had more or less better chances (as well as attempts on target). Both teams had 18 attempts on goal. 6 yellow cards were issued between the two teams: 5 to Valencia and 1 to PSG. No players were sent off during this match.

Carlo Ancelotti and Ernesto Valverde lined up the following squads:

PSG Starting XI:

Sirigu, Thiago Silva (c), Álex, Maxwell, Jallet, Matuidi, Chantome, Pastore, Thiago Motta, Lucas Moura, Lavezzi

Subs: Douchez, Sakho, Camara, Armand, Van der Wiel, Beckham, and Gameiro

Valencia Starting XI:

Guaita, Cissokho, Barragan, Victor Ruiz, Mathieu, Albelda (c), Fehgouli, Prejo, Costa, Jonas, Soldado

Subs: Diego Alvez, Joao Pereira, Ever Banega, Guardado, Canales, Piatti, and Valdez

Final Score: Paris Saint-Germain 1-1 Valencia (Agg: 3-2)

Jonas 55′; Lavezzi 66′

Quarter Finals

Having eliminated Valencia, Paris Saint-Germain are through to the quarter finals. Their opponents will be announced at the draw on 15 March set to take place in Nyon.

Written by Ange Marline