Lucas Piazon spared Chelsea a first defeat on their US tour with a late equaliser against Paris Saint-Germain at Yankee Stadium.The promising Brazilian midfielder netted on 81 minutes to cancel out Nene’s first-half opener as Roberto Di Matteo’s men finished strongly after a largely uninspiring performance. For PSG boss Carlo Ancelotti the late setback marred an otherwise impressive performance from his new team against his former club – one which promises much for the coming Ligue 1 season after a sensational summer of spending in the transfer market. Eden Hazard kept his place in the Blues starting lineup after a virtuoso debut display against the Seattle Sounders, while youngsters Sam Hutchinson, Kevin De Bruyne, Gael Kakuta and Romelu Lukaku were also given the opportunity to impress.
PSG boss Ancelotti was unable to call upon either Zlatan Ibrahimovic – set to join up with his new team-mates on Tuesday – or Thiago Silva – away with Brazil’s Olympic football squad – but nevertheless fielded a strong XI which boasted another big-money summer signing, former Napoli star Ezequiel Lavezzi.
The friendly match between two of the world’s richest clubs was played at new Yankee Stadium, the $1.5 billion ballpark that opened in 2009 as the new home of the storied Major League Baseball Club the New York Yankees.
Both clubs received goals from Brazilians, Chelsea forward Lucas Piazon converting a cross by another Brazilian, Ramires, for the equalizer in the 82nd minute. Nene had scored a goal off a rebound in the box after 30 minutes to give the lead to a PSG side that dominated the first half.
Terry, captain Premier League giants Chelsea, was given a standing ovation by overwhelmingly pro-Chelsea crowd of 38,000 when he entered the match in the 63rd minute. Terry was found not guilty of racially abusing rival player Anton Ferdinand at the end of a five-day trial at Westminster Magistrates Court in London on July 13.
In another sub-plot, Carlo Ancelotti, who took over as manager of French club PSG in January, was facing the club that sacked him in May of 2011. PSG delivered an energetic first half with a lineup that included four pure attackers: Ezequiel Lavezzi, Nene, Kevin Gameiro and Javier Pastore. In the third minute, a long pass from the right flank found Lavezzi wide open in the box. Chelsea keeper Petr Cech was forced to come off his line to thwart the Argentinian’s effort. Nene combined with Lavezzi for a high shot in the 19th and with his captain, right back Christophe Jallet, who misfired eight minutes later. Nene’s outstanding work was rewarded with his goal in the 30th minute. Pastore brought the ball down the left side, eluding three players before firing a shot that bounced off the post and to Nene, who fired into the back of the net from close range.
However, PSG lost their momentum after making eight substitutions to start the second half. Wholesale second-half substitutions helped Chelsea who looked condemned to defeat, but they finally broke through 9 minutes from time when Piazon exchanged passes with countryman Ramires while driving into the penalty area before side-footing the ball past a helpless Alphonse Areola to secure his side a share of the spoils. Malouda then missed guild-edged chance to complete a late comeback when he was found by Cole on the edge of the six yard box – but the Frenchman could only fire his effort straight at Areola in the 87th minute. Turnbull denied Pastore in injury time with a comfortable save from the midfielder’s powerful drive as the game ended all square.
Chelsea continue their North American tour in Philadelphia on Wednesday when they take on the Major League Soccer All-Stars in the US league’s annual All Star Game exhibition.
“At PSG, we do not feel the same amount of pressure that we felt at Chelsea”, said the 30-year-old.
“Abramovich never hesitated to put pressure on our shoulders. In France, we met the owner of the club, but the relationship is much less tense”, added the Brazilian to Champions Magazine.
- Report: PSG land Ibrahimovic, Silva (soccerbyives.net)
- You: Chelsea FC to Meet PSG in Clash of Wealth at Yankee Stadium (bleacherreport.com)
- Theo in demand: Chelsea and PSG to test Arsenal’s resolve over Walcott (mirror.co.uk)