Javier Pastore's added-time effort secured Paris Saint-Germain what could prove a vital two-goal cushion as the French club beat Chelsea FC 3-1 in their UEFA Champions League quarter-final opener.
Billed as a moment of truth for Paris, the visit of José Mourinho's Premier League juggernauts initially brought the best out of them, with Ezequiel Lavezzi firing them into a fourth-minute lead. Eden Hazard struck from the spot as Laurent Blanc's men began retreating, though, and it took a David Luiz own goal to restore their advantage, doubled at the death.
Paris had waited all season for a match of this tenor and how it showed. They clicked the 'on' button of their fluid midfield machine and quickly set about hunting space, a strategy that prospered when Thiago Motta picked out Blaise Matuidi on the left. The French international's cross was cleared by John Terry but only as far as Lavezzi, who controlled and rifled a fine half-volley in off the crossbar.
Mourinho had preferred André Schürrle to Fernando Torres up front, reinforcing the sense his team would concentrate on staying tight, but suddenly it was Paris who could afford to counterattack. Twice the effervescent Lavezzi broke free, first drawing a foul from Ramires – who picked up a booking and second-leg suspension – and later finding the side netting.
Sitting back does not come naturally to Blanc's charges, however, and a nervousness infected their defending, which culminated in Thiago Silva upending Oscar in the area. Hazard slotted low to the left from the spot, and although Lavezzi soon tested Petr Čech, the Belgium playmaker then volleyed against the base of the far post from a tight angle.
Paris came out after the break eager to win back ground in the midfield battle, and from another Matuidi cross they almost went ahead again. This time Lavezzi headed over, but it was the Argentinian international who caused Luiz to prod the ball into his net just after the hour, his probing free-kick from the left creating panic in the box.
That came after Chelsea had introduced Torres for Schürrle, yet it was another substitution that worried the locals most, the subdued Zlatan Ibrahimović leaving the pitch holding his thigh. Edinson Cavani curled a late effort wide as Paris sought to increase their cushion, and they ultimately did precisely that when substitute Pastore slalomed through the Blues' defence close to the byline and beat Čech at the near post.
©UEFA.com 1998-2015. All rights reserved.