Valencia CF lost 2-1 at home to Paris Saint-Germain FC but it could have been worse and Adil Rami's late goal has rekindled hope, both he and Nelson Valdez told UEFA.com.
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The age-old adage that you must take your chances or face the possibility of being punished was the central theme of Paris Saint-Germain FC's 2-1 UEFA Champions League round of 16 first-leg win at Valencia CF.
Ernesto Valverde's side might well have been effectively eliminated from the tie on the night, but the opening goalscorer Ezequiel Lavezzi and Zlatan Ibrahimović – who ended up with a red card – missed clear opportunities to finish off their opponents while Lucas hit the post. Adil Rami's late goal was therefore a lifeline for Valencia and perhaps the second leg offers Valencia a prospect of redemption. Certainly, that was the view when UEFA.com spoke to Rami and Nelson Valdez.
Adil Rami, Valencia defender
Sure I'm happy, personally, that I got the late goal but this is a team sport and we lost today. The worst thing for me is that we conceded two goals and that makes it very difficult for us. Now with that goal I scored plus the fact Ibra was sent off, perhaps that can change things.
The truth is, however, that PSG are very strong at home. They have a terrific record at the Parc des Princes – even without Ibra. They have a lot of good players who I know and respect very much. Like Kevin Gameiro, but there are others. Perhaps those others are not right up at the level of the great Zlatan but they are quick, talented and good in front of goal. We have to pay attention and not relax one iota because of the absence of Zlatan.
The way PSG performed certainly wasn't a surprise. I think they epitomise the French style of play – very good defensively and able to close up at the back and protect the lead if they go two goals ahead like they did. I'm disappointed that we were badly positioned when we were caught on the counter, as PSG are very good at that kind of breakaway.
We did better second half for a number of reasons. This was a Champions League match – we came out after the break knowing this was a match in the premier competition in Europe and that we had to give absolutely everything to try and get back on terms. With Valdez, who was full of life, and Canales, who has returned to the team on top form, we did well. We were sad for having lost but that goal and the red card might potentially change things.
Nelson Valdez, Valencia forward
It's a really tough result and, honestly, things looked even worse for us. But that goal at the end not only gave us back a bit of pride, it also added a sensation of hope – that we can do it. It's not over. My job is to help the team in any way and there were a lot of crosses coming into the area today. The boss simply told me to get in and be a partner for Roberto [Soldado], which is what I tried to do.
The fans were terrific tonight and again demonstrated that they are among the best in the world at club level. It's up to us now to give them back some joy.