As Tuesday’s first leg of the Champions League round of 16 tie between France’s Ligue 1 leaders Paris Saint-Germain and Spain’s Valencia entered stoppage time, everything looked to be going swimmingly for the French outfit.
PSG had a 2-0 lead, an advantage made all the more auspicious by the fact that the match was at Valencia’s Mestalla Stadium.
However, the final few moments of the match marred the rich French club’s celebrations and put the tie back in the balance heading into the second leg in two weeks. First, Valencia’s Adil Rami bagged a goal that brought the Spaniards a glimmer of hope. Then, less than two minutes later, PSG superstar striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic was adjudged to have come in high on Jose Guardado, and was subsequently shown a red card.
The sending off looked a harsh decision for the Swedish giant. While he did come in a bit over the ball, the precedent referee Paolo Tagliavento had set throughout the contest made the decision to send off Ibra a head-scratcher.
Because of the red, Zlatan will be suspended for the second leg of the tie in Paris, along with midfielder Marco Verratti for yellow card accumulation. With a goal advantage and two away goals, PSG are still very much in control of this tie, needing only to fail to hold their opponents to less than two goals to assure advancing to the quarterfinals.
However, there is still an outside chance that this decision could be the turning point in this all-important tie.
The French supporters will hope that the upcoming debut of David Beckham in Paris can give the club enough of a boost to hold off Valencia in two weeks.