• France's news in English

Ancelotti hails PSG after Barcelona given fright

AFP/The Local · 11 Apr 2013, 09:08

Published: 11 Apr 2013 09:08 GMT+02:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

In the end Barcelona secured their seemingly inevitable smooth passage to the semi-finals of the Champions League at the expense of Paris Saint-Germain, but for around 20 minutes in the Camp Nou the Catalan giants were on the brink of an embarrassing exit.

When PSG's Javier Pastore gave the French club a deserved lead on 50 minutes, one of the biggest shocks in the history of the competition was on the cards. Up until then Barcelona, who had started the game without their talisman Lionel Messi, could only muster wayward long-range shots, leaving PSG looking rather comfortable.

But as soon as they went a goal down, Barcelona turned to Messi, whose cute pass helped set up the equalizing goal, scored by Pedro in 71 minutes.

From then on, Barca coasted to victory and even a cameo appearance by David Beckham failed to inspire PSG to conjure up a winner.

Despite not losing to the team heralded by many as the best in the history of football, PSG went out on the away goals rule, courtesy of the 2-2 draw in the first leg last week.

PSG boss Carlo Ancelotti praised his players for their impressive display.

"We did everything we could to win. We played a great game and we were close," he said.

"It was a marvellous night, but it would have been fantastic to get to the semi-finals. We did well and didn't give up at any point."

PSG, who were playing in their first Champions League quarter final since 1995, were also heralded back in France by the French press, though there was also an element of regret that the Parisians were not able to score a crucial second goal when they were on top.

"Paris, so close to the dream", read the headline in French daily Le Parisien.

"To not qualify for the semi-finals of the Champions League on a night when PSG was stronger than its hosts meant incredible disappointment," read one article in the Parisien.

"They flirted with paradise," L'Equipe noted, referring to the time between Pastore's goal and Pedro's equaliser when PSG were leading the tie 3-2.

"For over quarter of an hour PSG were qualified for the Champions League semi-finals. But Messi came on and hope disappeared.

"Aside from a couple of missed chances the club doesn't have much to regret., they leave the Champions League with honour and pride at having shaken one of the big favourites of the competition."

Story continues below…

However, Ancelotti believes that by taking Barca so close over the two legs, they have proved they will be a force to be reckoned with in the next few years.

"This game will be useful for us in the coming seasons. We lacked a little bit of experience and some of our players were discovering the competition for the first time.

"Only time will allow us to gain the experience to get to the semi-finals, and this will be the objective for next year.

"We lost just once in 10 games, we finished first in our group and went out against a very strong team, in a very even game.

"Some people would say we didn't deserve to lose and so the experience was really good for us. I am sure we will be better in the coming years."

AFP/The Local (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
How life for expats in France has changed over the years
A market in Eymet, southwestern France. Photo: AFP

Foreigners in France explain how life has changed over the years.

London calling for Calais youths, but only a chosen few
Photo: AFP

Dozens of Calais minors are still hanging their hopes on help from the UK, but not all will be so lucky.

17 different ways to talk about sex in French
Photo: Helga Weber/Flickr

Fancy a quick run with the one-legged man?

Yikes! This is what a rat-infested French jail looks like
Photo: YouTube/France Bleu TV.

This video is not for sufferers of ratophobia (or musophobia as the condition is officially called).

France to allow Baby Jesus in Town Halls this Christmas
Photo: AFP

Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus are safe to go on display again this year, it seems.

National Front posts locations of migrants in French town
The National Front courts controversy. Photo: AFP

"Local tax payers have a right to know," says local far-right party chief.

Paris thieves use tear gas to steal €500,000 of watches
Photo: AFP

The thieves pretended to be couriers then threatened staff with tear gas to get the watches.

Bataclan survivor recounts attack in chilling drawings
Photo: BFMTV screengrab

One survivor has recounted the horrific night through illustrations.

Anger among French police grows as Hollande vows talks
French police demonstrate on the Champs Elysées. Photo: AFP

A fourth night of protests shows government efforts to ease anger among French police have been fruitless.

UK border must move back, says 'next French president'
Photo: AFP

If favourite Alain Juppé is elected, Britain and France are in for some difficult negotiations.

Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Sponsored Article
How to vote absentee from abroad in the US elections
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
The ups and downs of being both French and English
How Brexit vote has changed life for expats in France
Twelve French insults we'd love to have in English
What's on in France: Ten of the best events in October
jobs available