Chelsea on brink of Champions League elimination; are PSG the real deal?

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As Javier Pastore danced past two Chelsea players then slammed into the back of the net in stoppage time, Jose Mourinho’s men knew they were in big trouble.

Throwing their hands onto their heads and looking to the sky in despair, you sensed overturning a two goal deficit against this PSG side is something the Blues aren’t looking forward to.

With virtually the last kick of the game PSG have given themselves a huge chance of advancing to the semifinals of the UEFA Champions League for just the second-time in club history, with a 3-1 win coming in deserved fashion at a raucous Parc des Princes.

Chelsea now face a huge uphill battle to turn the tie around in the second leg at Stamford Bridge next Tuesday, as that late hammer blow from Pastore may have taken the tie beyond their reach.

Speaking to Sky Sports after the damaging defeat, Jose Mourinho lambasted his sides defending but insisted the Blues can still make the last four.

“The third goal was ridiculous, you and Gary [Cahill] say sloppy, I say ridiculous,” Mourinho said. “But we played against a great side full of great players, especially the attackers. It’s a difficult job now but not impossible, nothing is impossible in football. But they have players who out of nothing can score goals, we are not a team full of talent who can score lots of goals but you never know. We have to try and go with everything and let’s try.”

(MORE: Paris Saint-Germain crush Chelsea in absorbing Champions League clash)

Mourinho then pointed to the fact that he replaced lone forward Andre Schurrle — the German winger was playing in a false nine role — with Fernando Torres when the game was tied at 1-1 to try and give his team more attacking intent. In hindsight, the ‘Special One’ maybe should have stuck with Schurrle instead of chucking on his prized Spanish striker.

However that is not where this game was won and lost.

Chelsea, to their credit, dug deep to get themselves back in the match after Ezequiel Lavezzi’s stunning opener after four minutes, but Mourinho’s men looked uncharacteristically shaky at the back. What Mourinho alluded to was the plethora of star names PSG have available and even if Zlatan Ibrahimovic does miss next week’s second leg through injury, the reigning French champions still have many attacking delights to inflict pain on Chelsea.

(MORE: Zlatan Ibrahimovic injures hamstring, huge blow for PSG)

Zlatan struggled to impact the game before he limped off in the 67th minute, but Lavezzi scored the first and created the second with his free kick forcing David Luiz to put the ball in his own net. Then Pastore’s brilliance late on showed he’s full of class, as are Edinson Cavani, Lucas Moura and the entire stable of talented attackers PSG possess. That’s what billions of dollars and oil-rich Qatari owners get you, and that is why this PSG are looking more and more likely to go deep in this season’s UCL, and many more to come.

Defensively they looked solid, and in midfield they looked most impressive with Marco Verratti buzzing around and the lively Blaise Matuidi causing all kinds of problems. Laurent Blanc has assembled a hard-working team at PSG, and has molded superstars together to create a side capable of lifting the UCL crown in Lisbon on May 24.

Up until now, we didn’t know how good this Paris Saint-Germain were. After their clinical shellacking of Chelsea, Les Parisiens showed everyone they’re genuine contenders for the Champions League trophy.

USMNT AT HALF: Dempsey, Gomez trade goals in chippy first half

AP Photo/Arnulfo Franco
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Christian Pulisic and Clint Dempsey combined for another goal, and the USMNT leads Panama 1-0 in a World Cup qualifier Tuesday in Panama City.

A physical, chippy first half didn’t see many clear cut chances and was 0-0 after 38. minutes.

[ STREAM: Live on Telemundo Deportes ]

The first 10 minutes were a bit frenetic, with the U.S. focused on adventurous first touch passes when it managed to earn the ball from Panama.

That feel wasn’t aided by the officiating, as Cesar Ramos was inconsistent in a very physical opening half-hour.

Then, the breakthrough. Dempsey moved to within a goal of Landon donovan’s all-time mark thanks to Pulisic, who cooked Felipe Baloy and held off Roman Torres before laying off to the veteran. 1-0, 39′.

The lead lasted all of three minutes, as Gomez pounced on a loose ball with the Yanks’ back line at sixes and sevens off a long throw-in. Gomez turned off Jermaine Jones and lost Villafana to bury his chance behind Howard. 1-1, 44′.

STREAM LIVE: USMNT looks for 3 more points in Panama

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The United States looks to finish the international break in an automatic qualifier spot in the CONCACAF World Cup qualifying table when it faces Panama in Panama City at 10:05 p.m. EDT Tuesday.

A lot of the faces are the same from the 6-0 demolition of Honduras in California on Friday, though John Brooks and Sebastian Lletget are out with injury.

Jermaine Jones replaces Lletget while Tim Ream moves into the fray for Brooks. Geoff Cameron played Friday’s match with a minor injury, and moves out of the XI for Graham Zusi.

LINEUP

USMNT: Howard; Villafana, Gonzalez, Ream, Zusi; Bradley, Jones, Nagbe; Pulisic, Dempsey, Altidore

Subs: Bingham, Rimando; Beasley, Besler, Camron, Zimmerman; Acosta, Arriola, Bedoya, Kljestan, McCarty, Pulisic; Wondolowski

Reyes header gives Mexico three points in T&T (video)

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Diego Reyes’ 58th minute header off a corner kick gave Mexico a lead it wouldn’t give up in a 1-0 win over Trinidad and Tobago at Hasely Crawford Stadium in World Cup qualifying on Tuesday.

The win gives Mexico a table-topping 10 points, seven ahead of last-place T&T.

[ MORE: Honduras 1-1 Costa Rica ]

The Soca Warriors were in fine, stingy form early, and looked to have gone ahead on the counterattack when Joevin Jones belted a left-footer into the Mexico goal.

The linesman, however, ruled that Jones was offside. He almost certainly was not, as Mexico’s supreme luck in CONCACAF play continued for at least one night.

Hector Herrera hammered a shot off the far goal post early in the second half as Mexico attempted to grab control.

T&T goalkeeper Jan-Michael Williams jammed Miguel Layun’s shot over the bar moments before the breakthrough from Reyes.

Williams then saved Javier Hernandez’s 64th minute offering as Mexico looked to put three points to bed.

Joevin Jones won a free kick in the 76th minute that gave a brief moment of light to T&T’s hopes, but Jones hit the wall and Mexico cleared the ball.

Honduras holds Costa Rica 1-1

AP Photo/Moises Castillo
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Honduras did the United States a favor by taking a point from visiting Costa Rica in Tuesday’s CONCACAF World Cup qualifier in San Pedro Sula.

Anthony Lozano pushed a 35th minute chance past an indecisive Keylor Navas, as Los Catrachos set the stage for a hopeful three points.

[ STREAM: T&T-Mexico, Panama-USMNT ]

Vancouver Whitecaps center back Kendall Waston’s haphazard defending helped allow the goal, but he scored off a late Costa Rica corner kick to ensure Costa Rica will finish the international break in second place.

With four points, Honduras moves ahead of Trinidad and Tobago and the United States before both sides play Tuesday.

Costa Rica beat the U.S. 4-0 in 2016, while the Yanks battered Honduras 6-0 on Friday.