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Rediff.com  » Sports » PHOTOS: PSG edge past Valenica, Juventus crush Celtic

PHOTOS: PSG edge past Valenica, Juventus crush Celtic

Last updated on: March 7, 2013 09:52 IST

PSG reach quarter-finals for the first time in 18 years

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Paris St Germain reached the quarter-finals of the Champions League for the first time in 18 years after Argentine striker Ezequiel Lavezzi salvaged a 1-1 home draw with Valencia to secure a 3-2 aggregate success.

The Qatari-backed club were far from convincing in the last 16 second leg and after a first half short on entertainment, Valencia made the tie interesting when Brazilian Jonas put the Spaniards ahead with a superb 25-metre strike on 55 minutes.

PSG, without suspended top scorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic who was sent off late in the first leg, equalised 11 minutes later when Lavezzi scored at the second attempt after his initial shot was parried back to him by keeper Vicente Guaita.

Another Valencia goal would have sent the game to extra time but PSG's defence, marshalled superbly by Thiago Silva - back from a two-month injury layoff - held firm.


Image: PSG's Ezequiel Lavezzi (right) celebrates with team mates after scoring the goal
Photographs: Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images

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'The qualification is deserved'

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The French Ligue 1 leaders, who have not lost at their Parc des Princes home in 23 European matches since 2006, last played in the last eight of Europe's premier club competition in 1995 when they reached the semi-finals.

"The qualification is deserved, even if we struggled more than during the first leg," PSG coach Carlo Ancelotti told a news conference.

"I was a bit worried after their goal because it was wide open again. In the first half we controlled but played too deep.

"Their goal woke us up."

Asked whether PSG could win the competition, Ancelotti said: "We certainly are doing our best but I cannot say."


Image: Thiago Silva of PSG (left) and Sofiane Feghouli of Valencia battle for the header
Photographs: Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images
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Beckham left on the bench

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Former England captain David Beckham, who signed a short-term deal with PSG in January, will have to wait to make his first Champions League appearance since 2010 with AC Milan after Ancelotti opted to leave the midfielder on the bench.

Beckham started warming up at the end of the first half and continued during most of the second but after Valencia opened the scoring through Jonas, it was striker Kevin Gameiro who came on as a replacement for midfielder Thiago Motta.

"I hesitated between Beckham and Gameiro but I preferred Gameiro to add offensive energy and then use (Clement) Chantome as a defensive midfielder," Ancelotti told a news conference.


Image: David Beckham
Photographs: Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images
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Clinical Juventus dispatch Celtic

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Juventus clinically dispatched Celtic 2-0 to complete an emphatic 5-0 aggregate win over the Scottish champions and reach the Champions League quarter-finals for the first time in seven years on Wednesday.

The twice European champions, who won their fifth straight match in the competition without conceding a goal, allowed Celtic plenty of possession but defended immaculately and looked dangerous every time they broke forward.

Despite resting several regulars, the Serie A leaders and champions completed the aggregate win with goals in each half from Alessandro Matri and Fabio Quagliarella, suggesting they are back as a force in European football after several years in the wilderness.


Image: Alessandro Matri of Juventus scores the opening goal
Photographs: Claudio Villa/Getty Images
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'The difference was quality'

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With Andrea Pirlo and Paul Pogba adding a touch of artistry in midfield and the compact, ultra-modern Juventus stadium providing an intimidating backdrop, they will be a team to avoid in the last eight.

"The difference is the quality in the final third of the field," conceded Celtic coach Neil Lennon. "We had good chances again tonight and we didn't take them.

"The difference was quality," he added. "Quality counts and that was what separated the two teams."

Juventus last reached the last 16 in the 2005/06 season, shortly before the Calciopoli match-fixing scandal blew up.

The club was stripped of their 2005 and 2006 Serie A titles, demoted to Serie B and spent the following few years rebuilding.

"We're all very happy to be back in the elite of European football," said Conte, who spent most of his playing career with the club. "We hope to continue in the right way."


Image: Andrea Pirlo of Juventus duels for the ball with Celtic's Giorgios Samaras
Photographs: Claudio Villa/Getty Images
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