PSG beats Porto 2-1 to take top spot in Group A
PARIS (AP) — Paris Saint-Germain coach Carlo Ancelotti will be feeling better about his future after watching his team bounce back from a run of poor domestic form to beat FC Porto 2-1 in the Champions League on Tuesday and seal top spot in Group A.
In a closely contested match, Brazil center half Thiago Silva headed PSG in front in the 29th minute, only for Colombia striker Jackson Martinez to equalize four minutes later.
It was another South American, Argentina winger Ezequiel Lavezzi, who scored PSG's winning goal in the 61st.
The win will boost PSG's morale and life some pressure off Ancelotti following three losses in the past five league games and last week's elimination from the League Cup quarterfinals. On the eve of the match, there were reports that he was close to losing his job.
"It was a good performance from us and we needed it to get the quality, attitude and spirit of the team back," Ancelotti said. "The players responded well tonight, as the criticism had been very hard."
The Italian had threatened radical changes and demanded instant improvement, and he was happy with the response.
"All the players showed a good attitude and played for the team, which shows that the relations aren't too bad," Ancelotti said, when asked if this will ease the tensions within the squad. "If we show the same attitude in the league I am sure things will improve rapidly."
PSG tops the group with 15 points. Porto is next with 13, while Dynamo Kiev finished third to reach the Europa League.
"It's very important to finish in first place, and to have played good football with character and quality," Ancelotti said.
But Ancelotti's relief may prove to be short-lived as PSG has a potentially tough match in the next round, as Arsenal, AC Milan and Real Madrid all finished second in their groups.
"It will be a difficult draw because a lot of (good) teams finished in second place," Ancelotti said.
PSG started brightly and winger Jeremy Menez slipped the ball in behind the defense for Javier Pastore, whose first-time cross was met by striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic at the near post to flash wide across goal.
Menez was involved again in the 10th minute, running onto midfielder Blaise Matuidi's clipped pass over the defense and hitting a dangerous low cross that was cut out for a corner.
Shortly afterward, Martinez had Porto's first shot following a lost possession by Silva, but his fiercely struck effort flew past the right post.
Menez was PSG's most dangerous player in the first half and it was his darting run down the left which drew a foul and led to the opening goal. Maxwell whipped in a free kick, and Silva rose above the defense to nod the ball in off the underside of the crossbar.
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