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Soccer-Pastore adds finishing touch to PSG victory

Reuters

By Julien Pretot

PARIS, April 2 (Reuters) - Playmaker Javier Pastore chose an opportune moment to remind Paris St Germain coach Laurent Blanc of his mercurial talents when the Argentine came off the bench late on to score a superb Champions League goal on Wednesday.

His brilliant individual stoppage time strike following a mazy run inside the penalty area sealed a 3-1 first leg win over Chelsea to leave the French side in a strong position for next week's quarter-final return at Stamford Bridge.

"I'm happy for him because he does not play much and he also had injury problems," Blanc said of the Argentine, who has shown only glimpses of his huge talent since joining from Palermo in a big-money move in 2011.

"He was not among my choices for today's game but the scenario of the match changed things.

"Even he looked surprised when I asked him to come off the bench."

PSG had regained the lead with David Luiz's own goal in the 61st minute after Eden Hazard had cancelled out Ezequiel Lavezzi's opener in the first half.

Pastore, who has only started 12 league games this season and scored once, substituted man of the match Lavezzi in the 85th minute and provided the crowd with a magical moment.

He danced around four Chelsea players before beating Petr Cech with a low hard shot at his near post.

"It is sheer talent," Blanc told a news conference.

"This third goal changed things."

Until then, only defensive mistakes, according to Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho, had provided PSG with a one-goal advantage.

"In the first half we played 15 good minutes then we made technical errors," Blanc explained.

"We wanted to impose our game on Chelsea and we managed to do that in the second half, which was excellent.

"The lads were a bit down at halftime (with the score locked at 1-1) but I told them to believe we could unsettle Chelsea and that's what we did. In the second half we did what we like to do, even against a team like Chelsea."

The result will "force Chelsea to attack and create space for counter attack", according to Blanc, but the former France coach is taking nothing for granted.

"We know it is going to be complicated at Stamford Bridge next Tuesday," he said. (Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Justin Palmer)

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