Paris: Javier Pastore’s brilliant individual goal in stoppage time put the gloss on Paris St Germain’s 3-1 Champions League quarter final first leg win over Chelsea on Wednesday to leave the French side favourites to reach the last four.
The Argentine, on as a late substitute, cut in from the byline, evading a number of Chelsea defenders before beating ’keeper Petr Cech at his near post.
It prompted incredulous Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho to label the goal “a joke” in his post-game news conference.
PSG, boosted by an inspired display from another Argentine – Ezequiel Lavezzi – could be without talismanic striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic for next week’s return at Stamford Bridge after the Swede trudged off clutching his right thigh 20 minutes from time.
Ibrahimovic was substituted minutes after David Luiz had turned into his own net from a free-kick to put PSG 2-1 up.
“He felt some pain in his muscle, we’ll check in detail on Thursday. It’s an injury that will require some time of rest,” PSG coach Laurent Blanc told a television channel.
Ligue 1 leaders PSG went ahead in the fourth minute when Lavezzi shot high into the roof off the net after controlling a weak John Terry clearance.
Eden Hazard equalised in the 27th from the penalty spot and the Belgian also struck the post in the first half.
“I think from a strategic point of view the team showed great discipline,” Mourinho, whose team are second in the Premier League, said.
“But we made defensive mistakes so we paid the price.”
Ibrahimovic, who has scored 10 goals in the competition this season but has yet to win the tournament, was unusually quiet with the Sweden striker outshone by the impressive Lavezzi.
“Ibra”, who exchanged words of respect and admiration with Mourinho, his coach at Inter Milan in 2008-09, before the game, failed to sparkle.
For Chelsea, Andre Schurrle started at the expense of Fernando Torres, a clear signal that the London club had not travelled to Paris with an attacking mindset.
With Gregory van der Wiel out injured, Christophe Jallet was handed the task of containing Hazard on Chelsea’s left flank.
Cech’s 100th Champions League appearance got off to the worst possible start as Terry headed a Blaise Matuidi cross into the path of Lavezzi, who sent a stinging half volley back past the Czech ’keeper high into the roof of the net on four minutes.
Ramires picked up a yellow card in the 12th minute after he brought down Lavezzi who was speeding down his left flank on a swift PSG counter attack but the French side could not ram home their early advantage.
Thiago Silva’s uncharacteristic mistake handed Chelsea the chance to equalise.
The Brazil centre-back brought down Oscar with an ill-timed lunge and Hazard wrong-footed Salvatore Sirigu to level with the resulting penalty.