PSG Earn First Major UEFA Champions League Victory against a Contender
The new fad in European soccer is for billionaire investors to inject their personal funds into constructing a top team. The most recent of these “projects” has taken place in Paris, where PSG came under the ownership of the Qatar Investment Authority in 2011. Since then, the French team has amassed much of the top players from around the world, including Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Edinson Cavani, Javier Pastore, Thiago Motta, Thiago Silva, and Ezequiel Lavezzi. Even David Beckham stopped by for several months before retiring last season! But while such investment has resulted in an incredibly talented soccer squad, it wasn’t until tonight that PSG earned their first marquee victory over a Champions League contender!
No matter how special the players on a team are, their ability to perform in and win the biggest matches in European soccer is what typically defines their success! When a fresh team has to qualify for the Champion League one year, and then begin actually playing in it a second, it can take a while for the players to become well acquainted with the intensity and passion in the matches. Fellow super club Manchester City is still learning how to stand on their own two feet in this competition!
Last season, PSG had an easy stroll to the quarterfinals after dispatching with Valencia. But then came their first major test: Barcelona. Although the French side handled the Spaniards with a strong set of matches, the score remained tied and Barcelona progressed on the away goals rule. It was heartbreak for PSG and revealed that they had still yet to earn a big victory in Europe.
Fast forward to this year and PSG are now on the brink of the Champions League semifinals after tearing apart British powerhouse Chelsea, 3-1. It is actually a very fitting rise to prominence for the French moneybags. In fact, Chelsea was the beneficiary of a large investment by owner Roman Abromovich back in 2003. With that money, the club rose to power and has since earned countless trophies over the last decade, including a famous Champions League trophy in 2012. For one new cash-happy squad to defeat another is most fitting in this era of big time investors into the realm of pro soccer!
But PSG’s work is just halfway completed. Beating Chelsea away from their home of Stamford Bridge isn’t that big of a deal. Even Crystal Palace and Aston Villa have managed the feat in the last month! But playing in the Blues’ stadium is a massive challenge for anyone. The last team to come away from Stamford Bridge with a win was FC Basel, who earned a 2-1 victory in September. Since then, no one has taken control of this ground; not Arsenal, not Manchester United, not Manchester City, not Liverpool. No one!
Fortunately, PSG must only escape from Stamford Bridge with a slim margin of defeat in order to progress. Javier Pastore’s wonder goal in stoppage time during the first leg has given France’s prized club a 2-goal advantage heading to London. For me, I think this is enough for the side to progress, especially given their top quality players and veteran leadership. PSG is ready to introduce themselves to the Champions League with a famous victory, and it will mark a new shift of soccer dominance towards the French capital!