French media are more than optimistic about Paris Saint-Germain's chances of making Champions League progress at Chelsea's expense following their quarterfinal first-leg win.
According to France's main sports daily, L'Equipe, and based on results in the competition since 1970-71, PSG have a 76 percent chance of reaching the semifinals after their 3-1 triumph over the Premier League side at the Parc des Princes on Wednesday.
Though L'Equipe went with a picture of jubilant opening goalscorer Ezequiel Lavezzi to adorn its front page on Thursday morning, it was the 93rd-minute goal of Javier Pastore that "changes everything" as the strapline read, provoking the headline: "What a finale!".
The theme is reinforced with the headline above the match report on the inside page which reads, "One foot in the home of the giants" while analysis of the players' performance highlights the "stroke of genius" of Pastore. In reference to PSG's achievement, Lequipe.fr states simply, "Paris, a match of giants".
The French capital's daily newspaper, Le Parisien is equally upbeat, stating on its front page that "Paris can believe in its dream." Pastore is also the main focus in its sports pages in which he claims teammate Marco Verratti "had told me that I was going to score" when the Argentine midfielder came off the bench to replace Lavezzi on 85 minutes.
"And suddenly, the English fans went quiet" reads the headline above the piece from the paper's reporter in London, who was stationed in The Broadway pub near Stamford Bridge to witness the reaction of Chelsea fans as Pastore gave Jose Mourinho's men a steeper mountain to climb in next Tuesday's second leg. Le Parisien also suggested "End of the season for Ibra?" after PSG's Zlatan Ibrahimovic limped off 22 minutes from time with a thigh injury.
Radio station RTL claimed "PSG put one foot in the semis", but they also focused heavily on the injury to Ibrahimovic, which will likely mean the Sweden international will miss the return leg and potentially the remainder of the season. Counterparts RMC also noted the problems Ibrahimovic had to be as dominant against John Terry and Gary Cahill as he is with Ligue 1 defences, stating: "Zlatan misses, Zlatan breaks."