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Thursday April 3, 2014 MYT 5:18:35 AM
Thursday April 3, 2014 MYT 5:18:35 AM
by julien pretot
PARIS (Reuters) - 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 cut in from the byline, evading a number of Chelsea defenders before beating keeper Petr Cech at his near post.
PSG 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 freekick to put PSG 2-1 up.
PSG went ahead in the fourth minute when Ezequiel 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.
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 Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho, his coach at Inter Milan in 2008-09, before the game, failed to sparkle.
For Chelsea, Andre Schuerrle 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.
The goal rocked PSG and the impressive Hazard went close to a second when he met Willian's cross with a low left-foot volley across goal from a tight angle which thudded against the base of the post.
Edinson Cavani was convinced he should have been awarded a penalty on the stroke of halftime after tangling with Gary Cahill but his protests were waved away.
Lavezzi, who also had a chance in the first half with a fine volley on the turn, came close again with a powerful header that went over the bar.
It was from his curling free kick that Luiz deflected into his own net with the Brazlian close to his own goalline.
PSG stayed in control after Ibrahimovic left the pitch and Edinson Cavani went close with a curling shot before Pastore ignited raucous celebrations.
There seemed little room for manoeuvre after he received a throw-in but he turned away from Cesar Azpilicueta, evaded Frank Lampard and Terry and then beat Cech with a low strike.
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