PSG beats APOEL 1-0 in Champs League Group F match
NICOSIA, Cyprus (AP) — Edinson Cavani scored three minutes from time as Paris Saint-German edged APOEL 1-0 on Tuesday to keep top spot in Group F in the Champions League.
The Uruguay forward fought to keep possession inside the box, swiveling as he fell and steering the ball past APOEL goalkeeper Urko Pardo.
The win gives PSG seven points in the group, one more than Barcelona, which beat Ajax 3-1 in the other match. The win also stretched PSG’s unbeaten streak in all competitions this season.
But a feisty APOEL lived up to its reputation of being hard to beat at home, missing several good chances in each half.
PSG coach Laurent Blanc conceded that his team wasn’t in top form and that several players weren’t at their peak. He said APOEL were very well organized defensively and could have scored.
“I’ll leave it to you to decide whether we deserved the win, what’s most important is that Paris collected the three points,” Blanc said. “I believe that we didn’t play a great game. Honestly, it’s not one that we’ll remember. But what we’ll keep is the three points.
“We know we’ll have to be better in the future, both on an individual and team level.”
APOEL coach Giorgos Donis praised his players for their performance, saying his team was more dangerous on attack and was “closer to victory.”
“I consider myself and my coaching team particularly fortunate to be working with such a group of players,” he said. “They work very hard and are able to put great teams in a difficult position.”
APOEL had the first real chance to score just three minutes in when an unmarked Cillian Sheridan fired a first-time shot from a George Efrem pass — forcing PSG goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu into a diving save.
PSG tried to dictate the pace of the match by keeping control of the ball, but a tight APOEL defense didn’t allow the French team any real chances on goal.
APOEL maintained its composure and tried to find ways through a tough PSG defense. Just after the half hour mark, Brazilian midfielder Vinicius dribbled well into the PSG area but his pass to Efrem was intercepted by Lucas.
PSG’s best chance of the first half came in the 26th when an unmarked Cavani missed a shot from close range after a pass from Lucas.
Cavani missed another chance in the 40th when his glancing header ended up in the side netting and both teams had further opportunities just before the break.
APOEL didn’t fade in the second half and continued to press for a goal. PSG survived a close call in the 55th when David Luiz cleared a Tiago Gomes header off the line.
Luiz did it again seven minutes later when he cleared the ball off the line after Sirigu clashed with a sprawling Sheridan in the goalmouth.
PSG rode its luck again in the 67th when Nuno Morais blasted the ball over the crossbar from the edge of the box.
A Lucas effort in the 69th grazed the APOEL post and Pardo gathered substitute Yohan Cabaye’s 20-yard (meter) shot five minutes later before Cavani secured PSG’s victory at the final minutes.