Live Commentary: Valencia 1-2 Paris Saint-Germain - as it happened

Valencia's Tino Costa celebrates scoring during his side's match against Real Madrid on January 23, 2013
© AP Photos
Sports Mole brings you live commentary of the first leg of the last-16 Champions League clash as Valencia lose 2-1 to Paris Saint-Germain at the Mestalla.

Valencia welcomed Paris Saint-Germain to Spain on Tuesday in the first leg of their last-16 clash in the Champions League.

Despite dominating the possession in the first period, the home side found themselves 2-0 down at the interval courtesy of goals from Ezequiel Lavezzi and Javier Pastore.

Both teams had a host of chances in the second half, with Adil Rami adding a late consolation for Valencia before Zlatan Ibrahimovic saw red for a dangerous challenge in the final minute.

Read how it all unfolded in Sports Mole's minute-by-minute live commentary of the action below.


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6.46pmEvening all! Well, you can forget the Premier League, La Liga, Bundesliga, Ligue 1, Serie A and the rest, with the Champions League back underway. There are two live matches this evening, with Juventus also travelling to Celtic, before Manchester United travel to Real Madrid and Shakhtar Donetsk host Borussia Dortmund tomorrow. Does it get any better than that?

6.49pmQuite remarkably, tonight is the first ever competitive meeting between Valencia and PSG. The Spanish outfit will enter the match full of confidence, however, having won all six of their encounters with French clubs in the Champions League. In addition, no French outfit has ever kept a clean sheet against Valencia in a European competition. Right, the team news is just filtering through.

6.52pmTEAMS:

VALENCIA: Guaita; Costa, Rami, Pereira, Guardado; Banega, Costa, Parejo, Feghouli; Soldado, Jonas

PSG: Sirigu; Jallet, Alex, Sakho, Maxwell; Matuidi, Pastore, Verratti, Moura; Ibrahimovic, Lavezzi


6.55pmSo there we have it. Valencia pair Roberto Soldado and Jonas in attack, but Dani Parejo is a surprise starter as the Spaniard comes into midfield. The rest of the side is pretty much as expected, with Andres Guardado set to play left-back this evening. PSG, meanwhile, name Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Ezequiel Lavezzi in attack, with support from Lucas Moura and Javier Pastore.

6.58pmYou have to go back to April 1980 to find the only French club that have beaten Valencia in European competition in 90 minutes. The competition was the Cup Winners Cup and the team was Nantes. Since that evening, Valencia have won 13 and drawn four of their competitive meetings with French clubs. That is some record.

7.01pmValencia also enter the match having not lost a Champions League match at home since September 2010 when they were beaten 1-0 by Manchester United. Meanwhile, they have recorded six wins from their last nine games in the Champions League at the Mestalla, scoring 28 goals in the process. Does it all sound too good to be true for the Spanish outfit this evening?

7.04pmAs mentioned, PSG have not reached this stage of the Champions League since 1994/1995 season, which was incidentally the last time they won the French title. They have won their last four Champions League matches, while they have lost just two of their six competitive away games in Spain, winning three in the process against the likes of Real Madrid and Sevilla.

7.07pmThe French outfit also enter the match with the best defensive record in the Champions League this season, conceding just three goals in six games. They have found it tougher against Spanish teams in the past, however, conceding at least two goals in six of their last seven competitive matches against sides from La Liga.

7.10pmQuite remarkably, all of PSG’s 14 goals in the Champions League this season were scored from inside the box. One man who can score spectacular goals is David Beckham, who joined the club on a free transfer in January, he is not involved this evening due to lack of match practice, but he is in the stadium to watch his new teammates and is expected to take part in the second leg.

7.13pmWhat about the players who can make a difference this evening? Valencia striker Roberto Soldado has scored an incredible 14 goals in his last 14 Champions League starts, while the Brazilian Jonas has netted three goals in two starts for the Spanish outfit this season. You get the feeling that their chances of progressing will weigh heavily on the shoulders of those two players.

7.16pmLove him or hate him, Zlatan Ibrahimovic is a stunning footballer. Some say he is overrated, but for my money, he is up there with the very best. He is currently the top assist provider in the competition this season having laid on five goals for his team. His record in the knockout stages is not as impressive, however, having scored just four goals in 27 games in the latter stages of the competition.

7.19pmLet’s take a look at how each team advanced to this stage of the competition. Valencia finished second in Group H behind Bayern Munich, with BATE Borisov and Lille exiting the tournament. They won four of their six matches, with their only defeat coming in their opener against Bayern.

7.22pmThey recovered from that defeat with three straight wins over Lille and BATE home and away, before picking up a welcome point at home to Bayern. In their final match of the group stages, they showed a different side to their performance as they picked up a 1-0 win over Lille in a tight affair in France. They scored 12 goals in their six matches, conceding just five in the process.

7.25pmPSG, meanwhile, topped Group A which also included Porto, Dynamo Kiev and Dinamo Zagreb. It was by no means the hardest group, but they impressed on their way to qualification. They won five of their six matches, scoring 14 goals and conceding just three times in the process. The only disappointment came in a 1-0 defeat against Porto in Portugal.

7.28pmThey opened their campaign with a 4-1 win over Dynamo Kiev, before suffering the defeat in Portugal. They responded with a 2-0 win away at Dinamo Zagreb, before winning the home tie 4-0. They ended their group stage with successive wins over Dynamo Kiev and Porto to cap a stunning passage to the knockout stages of the Champions League.

7.31pmTaking a look at both teams’ league form for a moment. Valencia currently occupy fifth spot in La Liga having registered 37 points from their opening 23 matches. They sit just a point behind fourth-placed Malaga, but some 25 behind leaders Barcelona. They have been in strong form in recent weeks, meanwhile, taking 13 points from their last six league games.

7.34pmPSG, meanwhile, currently top the standings in France with 51 points from their 24 matches. They are also the in-form team in the division having taken 16 points from the last 18 on offer. Perhaps unsurprisingly, they have the best defensive record in Ligue 1, having conceded just 13 goals and the best attacking record, scoring 45.

7.37pmValencia boss Ernesto Valderde told Eurosport prior to the match: “What we want is to get through this tie, even though they are the favourites, and go into the quarter-finals. We won't settle for just giving a good show of ourselves. We aren't here to look good in defeat. We compete to win. They are a club who are pushing to become one of the biggest in Europe, but that doesn't mean anything. Over 180 minutes we will see what happens. I don't care that they are favourites. The key is in the game."

7.40pmMeanwhile, PSG boss Carlo Ancelotti added: “We have a lot of players with speed. But our goal is to play football, not just to play on the counter attack. I think this will be a good test for us to evaluate the capacity we have to play our football and not just on the counter but with possession of the ball."

7.43pmHere we go then. That wonderful Champions League music is played as both sets of players join us on the pitch. The pre-match handshakes have been undertaken and the flags have been exchanged. Just about time for my pre-match prediction. I am backing a 1-1 draw this evening, but I think PSG will have too much in France in the second leg.

0 minJust a reminder that nothing will be decided this evening with the second leg to take place in Paris next month. There really is a wonderful atmosphere inside the stadium. This is the Champions League. This is the biggest and best competition in world football. The home side get the action underway. Be sure to stay with us for the entirety.

2 minDecent start from the home side as they enjoy a period of possession in midfield. Joao Pereira threatens to cause an issue down the right as he fires a high cross into the penalty area, but Sirigu comes out to claim with Soldado in close proximity. The stadium is just rocking in the early stages of this match.

4 minEarly problem for the away side as Lucas Moura hits the deck, with Sakho playing the ball out of play. Not too sure what happened with the Brazilian, it appears that he may have come down on his ankle. The form surface has certainly not helped him, but it does seem likely that he will continue. Looking around, there are so many wonderful players on the pitch this evening.

6 minFirst sign of an attacking threat from the away side as Pastore drives into the Valencia half before finding Lavezzi down the right, the pacey striker attempts to drive past Guardado, but fells the Mexican in the process. Meanwhile, Ibrahimovic has shown some delicious touches in the early stages of this match. Where has the opening six minutes gone? This match is flying by already.

8 minGood football from the home side in the last couple of moments with Banega, Parejo and Tino Costa seeing plenty of the ball in midfield. A loose touch from the latter allows Ibrahimovic to embark on a mazy run, but Guardado is across to clear. Moments later, Soldado is caught offside down the other end.

10 minValencia continue to pass and probe outside the PSG penalty area in an attempt to find that elusive final ball towards Soldado, but Alex and Sakho have not given the striker a moment to relax thus far. The away side attempt to break down the other end with Pastore, but the playmaker just cannot sort out his feet in time and Costa is across to clear. End-to-end period of the match with 10 minutes on the clock.

10 minPOST! Oh my word. The away side come within a whisker of taking the lead as Lucas Moura strikes a powerful effort from outside the box, but it thumps off the foot of the post before bouncing out of the area. Stunning effort from the young Brazilian.

10 minGOAL! Valencia 0-1 PSG (Lavezzi)

11 minValencia rode their luck with the effort from Lucas, but the away side do indeed have the lead as Lavezzi drives into the penalty area before thumping his effort into the back of the net. However, questions must be asked about Guaita. The goalkeeper really should have made the save.

13 minThe home side want a penalty down the other end as Soldado clashes with Sakho in the penalty area, but the referee is not interested as he waves play on. You just get the feeling that Valencia need their supporters to stay with their side in the early stages of the match. Already the French outfit have scored a decisive goal.

15 minDecent response from the home side as they force two corners in quick succession, but neither comes close to bringing their first goal of the evening. PSG do look ever so strong in defence this evening with Alex and Sakho two powerful centre-backs. It is the away supporters that can be heard as the first period begins to gather pace. PSG lead.

17 minIn fairness to Valencia, they have mounted a decent response since going a goal behind. However, they have thus far been unable to really test the PSG goalkeeper. You do worry that they will be caught out on the break with the pace that the away side possess. Ibrahimovic wins a free kick down the other end moments later, but Maxwell's delivery is straight into the arms of Guaita.

19 minIt's a horror moment from Soldado as the Spanish striker collects a pass from Sakho before attempting to find the goalkeeper off his line, but the Valencia forward slices out of play for a throw. That was sloppy defending from Sakho, but the away side got away with it. PSG are comfortable in defence despite not having too much of the ball.

21 minPossession football from the home side in the last couple of minutes as they attempt to pass and probe through this stern Paris defence. The away side collect possession with Lavezzi, but the striker cannot find a way past Rami. A half-chance arrives for Banega on the edge of the box, but he snatches his effort wide of the post.

23 minAnother half-chance comes to the home side as Pereira collects possession on the right before whipping a dangerous cross into the box, but it just would not fall for Soldado, with Alex on hand to clear the danger. Lucas embarks on a mazy run down the other end before finding Verratti, but Banega is back to make a fine challenge.

25 minAgain it's good work from the home side as they force two half-chances in quick succession. The first comes to Soldado as Banega fires a low cross into the box, Sakho clears the danger, but it falls straight to Guardado, who fires over the crossbar when he might have done better. All one-way traffic here.

27 minPSG just cannot get hold of the ball at the moment as Valencia continue to suffocate the French outfit with possession. However, despite having 63% of the ball, the home side have just not threatened to open their tally. Wouldn't it be just like football if Paris went down the other end and scored a second against the run of play.

29 minHalf-chance for the away side this time as Ibrahimovic collects possession down the left before finding Lucas in the box, but the Brazilian can only fire over the crossbar. Little over 15 minutes of the first period to play and PSG remain 1-0 ahead. But you just sense that we have not seen the last of the goals this evening.

31 minLucas has been the star man of this match thus far as he picks up possession once more before gliding past the challenge of three defenders. However, his final effort is straight at the goalkeeper. It is easy to see why the likes of Manchester United and Real Madrid tried to sign him at the start of the season. PSG have just started to enjoy more of the ball in the past few minutes.

33 minA reminder that this is PSG's first Champions League season for eight years. But they have not lost since the beginning of December and therefore entered this match in confident mood. They just look like the perfect Champions League outfit. Strong in defence and pace on the counter.

35 minSlight handbags between the two sets of players here as Lavezzi hits the deck under a challenge by Costa. Alex comes forward to get involved from defence, but in truth there was not a great deal in it. Two players are booked, however, as Verratti and Pereira go into the referee's notepad.

37 minThere really is some ill-feeling in this match at the moment as the challenges begin to fly in from both sides. Valencia continue to enjoy much of the possession, but they just cannot find a way through this stern Paris defence at the moment. Not too many clear chances to report inside the opening 37 minutes of this match.

39 minAnother half-chance arrives for the home side as Jonas meets a cross from Costa, but he can only head over the crossbar. Just the first sign of some frustration from the crowd. However, the away section continue to enjoy their evening. A reminder that no team bettered PSG's 15 point total in the group stages of the competition.

41 minCHANCE! Another fine chance for the away side as Verratti finds Lavezzi on the edge of the box, the striker thumps a powerful effort towards the bottom corner, but Guaita gets across to make the save. They may not have had much of the ball, but they have looked more dangerous in the final third.

43 minNot too much to report in terms of chances in the latter stages of this half, with Valencia continuing to struggle to find that elusive final pass. Feghouli combines with Jonas around the edge of the box, but Alex is across to make the clearance. Little over two minutes of the first period remaining.

43 minValencia just seem to be running out of ideas as PSG continue to hold their shape. A half-chance arrives down the other end as Lavezzi combines with Jallet on the edge of the box, but Rami is across to clear.

43 minGOAL! Valencia 0-2 PSG (Pastore)

44 minPSG have their second of the evening as Lucas cuts inside before finding Pastore, the playmaker takes one touch before firing his effort into the bottom corner. Once more, questions must be asked about the goalkeeper. He should have saved it.

45 minValencia continue to pass and probe outside the penalty area, but even the players are getting frustrated as the away side continue to quell the danger. Meanwhile, the fourth official indicates that we will play an additional two minutes at the end of the half with silence inside the Mestalla.

45 min+2Half-chance for the home side in the latter stages of the half as Costa whips a dangerous cross into the penalty area, but Pastore is on hand to head behind. The resulting corner also causes problems in the box, but still there is no way through.

45 min+2HALF-TIME: Valencia 0-2 Paris Saint-Germain

8.33pmSo there we have it. The referee blows the whistle as silence falls onto the stadium. Valencia have dominated possession in the opening 45 minutes, but find themselves 2-0 behind courtesy of goals from Lavezzi and Pastore. The Paris outfit are in cruise control here.

8.37pmLet's take a look at some statistics. The home side have dominated possession with 69% of the ball, but they have managed just four attempts to PSG's six. The away side have hit the target four times, but Valencia have failed to test the opposing goalkeeper on a single occasion.

8.41pmWhat about the benches for this evening? The home side have a host of attacking options in reserve with Pablo Piatti, Nelson Valdez and Sergio Canales all capable of making a difference. The away side also have a host of options, however, in the shape of Kevin Gameiro and Jeremy Menez.

8.45pmNothing will be decided this evening, but you just get the feeling that Valencia have to at least take draw into the second leg if they are to have a chance of making the next round. The likes of Jonas and Soldado have simply been starved of possession thus far. But there is still 45 minutes of football to play.

46 minHere we go then. Both sets of players join us on the pitch ahead of the second period. Two changes for Valencia at the break as Nelson Valdez and Sergio Canales replace Jonas and Banega. For me, if PSG score again without reply, then this tie is over. Valencia simply have to come out and attack in this half. The away side get the half underway.

48 minIt is very much a front two for the home side now as they attempt to get back into this match. They really need the crowd to stay with them as the half advances. Possession has not been the problem, they have just not threatened to test Sirigu. However, they have made a high-tempo start to the second period.

50 minNot too much to report in terms of chances in the early stages of this half, despite the home side continuing to enjoy the most of the possession. PSG are just perfectly set up this evening as they sit in before attacking with pace and power. A reminder that the French outfit have conceded just once away from home in the Champions League this season. It is easy to see how they have such a record.

52 minAgain it's good pressure from the home side as they continue to flood PSG in their own half, but the away side have shown a lot of confidence in possession this evening. More frustration arrives as Valencia are caught offside twice in quick succession. Meanwhile, the away supporters continue to raise the roof off this stadium.

54 minAnother half-chance for the home side as Pereira strikes a powerful effort from outside the box, but it is deflected behind for a corner. The resulting set piece also causes concern as Valdez meets the cross, but Sirigu makes a fine save. It is all one-way pressure at the moment, but that was also true in the second period.

56 minThe away side make a change as Lucas is replaced by Clement Chantome. It appears that the former has been unable to shake off an injury that he picked up early in the match. However, he has been the game's outstanding player that is for certain. Just about 35 minutes of football remaining and PSG continue to defend their two-goal lead.

58 minHow is this for a statistic, PSG have kept 21 clean sheets in all competitions this season. They have had money to spend, but it appears that they have invested in the correct areas. It is early, but they could be a real force in the latter stages of the competition. They have quality from back to front. Valencia continue to force the issue, but another Costa effort is deflected over for a corner.

60 minPSG have a half-chance of their own as Pastore whips a dangerous cross into the penalty area, but Rami rises highest to head the danger clear. Again Valencia threaten down the other end as Pereira gets forward from defence, but there is just no way through once more. Little over 30 minutes of football remaining in the Mestalla.

62 minAgain it's good work from Lavezzi as the Argentine collects possession on the left before turning and firing a cross into the penalty area, but it just would not fall for Ibrahimovic, with Guaita on hand to collect. Slightly bitty period to the match at the moment as both teams continue to gave away free kicks in the opposing half.

64 minCHANCE! Just about the best chance of the match for the home side as Soldado collects a long pass from Parejo, but his first touch takes him away from goal and Sakho clears. The away side come close down the other end moments later, but Lavezzi can only fire wide from close range. End-to-end football here.

66 minCHANCE! Oh my word. Talk about a chance to kill this tie off. It comes to Lavezzi as the Argentine is found by Verratti, but somehow he chips his effort straight at the goalkeeper. They really could have been out of sight in this second period. PSG are seeing more of the ball as we approach the latter stages.

68 minAnother half-chance for the away side as Lavezzi combines with Ibrahimovic in the final third, but Guaita just comes out to clear the danger at the vital moment. Valencia are really struggling at the moment as they continue to leave gaps in defence. They have to score, but they cannot concede again. It is the worst possible situation.

70 minPSG are in again as Ibrahimovic plays a pass behind the Valencia defence, but the offside flag is raised when replays suggest that Lavezzi was indeed level with the final defender. Valencia come close with a half-chance down the other end as Feghouli meets a bouncing ball, but he can only volley high and wide of the goal.

72 minThe French outfit are just so comfortable at the moment as they continue to thwart the threat provided by Valencia. They simply have to score ahead of the second leg, but at the moment it looks as if PSG will score the next goal. Little under 20 minutes of football remaining in this match.

74 minPSG have the ball in the back of the net once more as Verratti thumps home from close range, but the offside flag is raised, much to the relief of the home side. A chance comes to the home side down the other end moments later, but Soldado just cannot make contact at the vital moment. Suddenly it is all happening here as Ibrahimovic continues to boss proceedings.

76 minAnother half-chance comes to the away side as Ibrahimovic strikes a free kick from outside the box, but it was always moving high of the target. PSG really should be out of sight in this match as they continue to create the better chances. Not too much football left to play in Valencia this evening.

78 minCHANCE! Good grief. Valencia's best chance by some distance comes to Valdez as the striker collects a pass from Costa before thumping an effort towards goal, but he can only bit the side-netting. What a chance. Meanwhile, PSG make their second change as Menez replaces Lavezzi.

80 minValencia have not lost in their last nine Champions League games at the Mestalla, but it does appear that record will be ended this evening by a very good PSG outfit. Another half-chance arrives as Guardado drives down the left, but he over-hits his cross as the groans erupt around the stadium. Both teams have one change left should they so wish.

82 minLittle under 10 minutes of football remaining in this match and the away side are just about as comfortable as they could ever have imagined to be at this stage of proceedings. Valencia continue to probe outside the penalty area, but they have simply been unable to find a way through all evening.

84 minThe home side continue to launch high balls into the penalty area, but Alex and Sakho are comfortable in dealing with the danger, as they have been all evening. PSG attempt to break down the other end with Menez, but Rami is across to clear. It just about sums up their evening as Rami strikes an effort straight at the referee.

86 minThe home side make their third and final change as Jonathan Viera replaces Feghouli. Little under five minutes of football remaining and a goal for Valencia would at least give them some hope going into the second leg, which will take place next month. Not too much to report in terms of chances in the last couple of minutes.

88 minAnother half-chance comes to the home side in the latter stages as Costa strikes a free kick from outside the box, but Sirigu is on hand to make a diving save. The pressure continues with a succession of high balls into the area, but eventually the danger is cleared. It has just been that type of evening for Valencia.

90 minPSG make their third and final change of the match as Pastore is replaced by Sylvain Armand. Another half-chance comes for Costa to drive he drives a low cross into the penalty area, but the danger is cleared.

90 minGOAL! Valencia 1-2 PSG (Rami)

90 min+1Decisive moment in this tie as Rami meets a cross from Costa before turning home from close range. That is a massive moment in the context of this context. The Spanish side will be the underdogs in the second leg, but now they have something to hold. Little over one minute of added time remaining.

90 min+2RED CARD: Wow! The away side end the match with 10 men as Ibrahimovic is given a straight red card for a challenge on Pereira. It was not a clever tackle from the Swedish international. What a couple of moments for Valencia!

90 min+3FULL-TIME: Valencia 1-2 Paris Saint-Germain

90 min+3FULL-TIME: Valencia 1-2 Paris Saint-Germain

9.38pmSo there we have it. Stunning end to this match as Valencia score in the final moment before Ibrahimovic is given his marching orders. However, PSG will still be favourites ahead of the second leg. Thanks for joining Sports Mole for the action and be sure to join us for more Champions League football tomorrow. Until then!

Valencia boss Ernesto Valverde on the touchline on January 20, 2013
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