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Paris made to work for second-leg Leverkusen win

Published: Wednesday 12 March 2014, 22.49CET
Paris Saint-Germain 2-1 Bayer 04 Leverkusen (agg 6-1)
The Ligue 1 leaders recovered from a goal down against a Leverkusen side who squandered a penalty and had Emre Can sent off in the second half.
by Chris Burke
from Parc des Princes

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Published: Wednesday 12 March 2014, 22.49CET

Paris made to work for second-leg Leverkusen win

Paris Saint-Germain 2-1 Bayer 04 Leverkusen (agg 6-1)
The Ligue 1 leaders recovered from a goal down against a Leverkusen side who squandered a penalty and had Emre Can sent off in the second half.

Far less sparkling than in the first leg, Paris Saint-Germain nonetheless strolled into the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals, a 2-1 victory against ten-man Bayer 04 Leverkusen completing a 6-1 aggregate win.

Playing with a rejigged lineup, Paris never approached the quality of their 4-0 triumph in Germany, and a defence featuring Christophe Jallet, Lucas Digne and Marquinhos was unable to stop Sidney Sam handing Leverkusen a shock lead. Marquinhos levelled, but Salvatore Sirigu had to keep out a Simon Rolfes penalty before Ezequiel Lavezzi ultimately tipped the game in the home side's favour, with Emre Can's red card undermining a spirited Leverkusen showing.

After all the talk in the build-up about playing for pride, the visitors actually started as if they believed the most stirring of comebacks was possible. Andrés Guardado drew an early save from Sirigu and there were just six minutes on the clock when Sam gave the hosts pause for thought, heading in from right-back Giulio Donati's cross.

The Parc des Princes faithful were clearly unimpressed, but they did not have to wait long for a retort, Marquinhos nodding in his third goal of the competition from Yohan Cabaye's corner after Bernd Leno had knocked a Zlatan Ibrahimović effort wide. Soon afterwards, the irrepressible Swede clipped the crossbar with a deft lob.

The match was unfolding at an entertaining pace, aided by a pair of defences seemingly vulnerable to balls played in behind. Indeed, Leverkusen threatened to retake the lead after Jallet was penalised for pulling back Eren Derdiyok, but Sirigu plunged left and batted away Rolfes' spot kick.

At the other end, Leno likewise distinguished himself by rebuffing Edinson Cavani at close range. The Uruguay forward should perhaps have done better – and the same could have been said about many of his colleagues in the first half, though Lavezzi changed the tone of the evening when he turned in Digne's low cross from the left on 53 minutes.

The Werkself refused to let their heads bow and came straight back at Laurent Blanc's men, with Sirigu doing well to deny Donati. The Italian goalkeeper then thwarted Gonzalo Castro from distance and blocked out Derdiyok at his near post, and the sense that Sami Hyypiä's team would at least prevail on the night faded when Can collected a second yellow. Leno ended the game the busier custodian, foiling Javier Pastore as Paris began looking forward to the last eight.

Last updated: 01/04/14 11.19CET

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