UEFA Champions League: Porto’s Rodriguez breaks through to earn deserved win over PSG
Porto: Porto have taken control of Champions League Group A, recording a 1-0 win over Paris Saint-Germain at the Estadio do Dragao on Wednesday evening.
Vitor Pereira’s side dominated matters throughout, yet they had to wait until seven minutes from time to secure three points thanks to a magnificent finish from James Rodriguez, with the hosts having passed up a catalogue of chances previously.
This was an open game from the outset, though it would be the home side who dictated the tempo of the game and fashioned the vast majority of the chances. As early as the fourth minute they had a glaring chance to move ahead, though after Marco Verratti had uncharacteristically given away possession on the edge of his box, he was given a reprieve as Joao Moutinho slashed horribly wide.
The tone of the evening was set for the hosts, who too often failed to test Salvatore Sirigu in the PSG net despite getting into some excellent positions. It took nearly half an hour for the Italian goalkeeper to be seriously worked, with James Rodriguez’s low drive pushed away from the corner of the net.
Immediately prior to that moment, PSG had enjoyed their best two opportunities of the evening. Both fell to Zlatan Ibrahimovic, but the giant Swede headed wide from six yards and then flicked over when played through on goal when he had time for at least one extra touch.
Before the break there was still time for the home team to waste perhaps their best opening of the evening as Jackson Martinez hammered a header over the top from close range when he really should have scored.
The break of play did not offer a change in the momentum of the game and three times in the opening five minutes of the second period the visitors were reliant on last-ditch blocks to thwart the hungry hosts. Soon afterwards, Rodriguez had a terrific hooked volley pass just wide of target.
On the hour mark, Sirigu was required to block Porto’s best opening of the second half. Silvestre Varela was released through the centre, but the Italian was out quickly to deny the attacker.
Porto’s chance seemed to have gone, but with seven minutes remaining Rodriguez won the match with a finish of class, sending a curling first-time shot into the far corner of the net after a cross deceived everyone in the box.
Victory for the home side was thoroughly deserved against a lacklustre PSG outfit, whose naivety at this level as a unit shone through in this encounter. While the French club are stuck on three points, Porto move onto six, though both teams will still be favoured to progress from this group.