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Lavezzi sinks Porto to put PSG top

Published: Tuesday 4 December 2012, 22.50CET
Paris Saint-Germain FC 2-1 FC Porto 
Carlo Ancelotti's men clinched top spot in Group A after defeating the Portuguese champions courtesy of Ezequiel Lavezzi's second-half strike.
by Matthew Spiro
from Parc des Princes

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Published: Tuesday 4 December 2012, 22.50CET

Lavezzi sinks Porto to put PSG top

Paris Saint-Germain FC 2-1 FC Porto 
Carlo Ancelotti's men clinched top spot in Group A after defeating the Portuguese champions courtesy of Ezequiel Lavezzi's second-half strike.

Paris Saint-Germain FC clinched top spot in Group A after beating FC Porto in the French capital thanks to Ezequiel Lavezzi's second-half goal.

Both teams were already assured of their places in the last 16, but the French club now go into the draw as section winners after overtaking Vítor Pereira's men at the last. In an open encounter, Jackson Martínez cancelled out Thiago Silva's strike, yet the hosts upped the pace after the break and took the points through Lavezzi's 61st-minute goal.

Carlo Ancelotti's charges may have suffered another Ligue 1 loss at the weekend, but their UEFA Champions League form has been near perfect and they were quickly on the front foot again here. The in-form Zlatan Ibrahimović came close to converting Javier Pastore's cross and Alex nodded a chance straight at Helton before PSG deservedly went ahead, Thiago Silva powering a header in off the underside of the bar from Maxwell's 29th-minute free-kick.

The two-time European Cup winners had appeared subdued until then – Martínez's deflected effort wide their only real threat – yet they soon stirred. With Lucho González and João Moutinho exerting more influence in midfield, the Parisian side began to drop deep and were punished on 33 minutes when Danilo dribbled past Pastore on the right and crossed beautifully for Martínez to nod in from close range.

If the response momentarily silenced the home fans, they found their voice again on the stroke of half-time, acclaiming the brilliance of Ibrahimović whose clever lobbed header very nearly caught Helton out.

Knowing a win was required to secure pole position, PSG displayed renewed urgency at the start of the second half, enjoying a period of intense pressure. Helton was equal to Jérémy Ménez's thunderous strike, but the keeper then blemished an otherwise commanding performance by allowing Lavezzi's near-post shot to slip past him and into the net shortly after the hour.

Although PSG were good value for their advantage and continued to have the better of the game, they were almost caught out 20 minutes from time. After breaking the offside trap, the ever-dangerous Martínez lost his duel with Salvatore Sirigu and Lucho rifled the rebound over.

In a frantic finale, Ibrahimović failed to turn in a loose ball from close range, while at the other end Nicolás Otamendi's added-time header flashed wide as Porto surrendered their unbeaten record in the competition as well as first place in the section. 

Last updated: 04/12/13 18.57CET

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