Montpellier 0-3 PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN
Paris Saint-Germain are sitting joint top of Ligue 1 after an impressive 3-0 win away at Montpellier and ending a 12-year winless streak at the Stade de la Masson.
A first-half strike from Kevin Gameiro and a brace from Javier Pastore gave the Parisians the spoils in a display mixed with efficiency and flair.
PSG nearly took the lead within a minute after Pastore picked up the ball in midfield before unleashing a defence splitting pass for Jeremy Menez, only to be denied inside the penalty area by Henri Bedimo’s trailing foot.
A minute later, the hosts nearly found themselves a goal up as John Utaka’s right-footed effort just outside the 18-yard box was superbly saved by Salvatore Sirigu and followed it up with another from the on rushing Olivier Giroud. Geoffrey Dernis was unable to react quickly enough on the third rebound and the ball – thankfully form a Parisian perspective – went out of play.
In actual fact it was MHSC who settled better in the early sparing. They were keeping hold of possession superbly as they looked to pierce through the heart of the visitors defence. Dernis in particular was posing a problem or two.
Giroud came within a whisker in giving his side the lead in the 12th minute as his glancing header drifted inches wide of Sirigu’s left-hand post.
Kevin Gameiro squandered a magnificent opportunity on 24 minutes after doing ever so well to shrug off Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa with ease and find himself one on one with the keeper only to scuff his shot miles wide. In all fairness to him, the angle was exceptionally difficult but he will know full well he should have hit the target.
Regardless of that, he made amends 12 minutes later as he put a smile on the face of Coach Antoine Kombouare by giving PSG the lead. The move culminated from an interception by Blaise Matuidi in the middle of the park, subsequently playing the ball to Pastore who then released it for Nene down the left-hand side and delivered a low telling cross for Giroud to sweep home into the net. Superb build-up and huge credit must go to Matuidi for his endeavour.
If that was good, it had nothing on the astonishing driven volley by Javier Pastore three minutes before half-time to make it 2-0. A long searching cross from Siaka Tiene dropped to the Argentinean just inside the 18-yard-box – with the angle completely against him – and hit it first time giving Geoffrey Jourden no chance. A goal of the season contender without question.
After the break Sirigu made a decent save down to his right after Giroud did exceptionally well to get his header on target despite pressure from Diego Lugano.
PSG were happy to sit back and play on the counter attack, allowing the hosts to have more of the ball but not necessarily being threatening with it.
Matuidi who had been superb all game, covering almost every blade of cross, opted to try his luck from distance and it very nearly paid off, only to be denied by the fingertips of Jourden.
With 20 minutes remaining Mohamed Sissoko came on to make his long overdue debut in place of Mathieu Bodmer. The Malian showed he was no shrinking violet with a couple of robust challenges it has to be said.
The game began to peter out as the half wore on but that did not stop Pastore from netting his brace by capitalising on an error by the goalkeeper. A standard route one ball down the middle caught Jourden unawares as he rushed out of his goal, allowing the ball to bounce over his head and into the path of the Argentinean who slotted home into an empty net.
Giroud had a spectacular acrobatic goal wrongfully chalked off for offside in 89th minute before the referee blew for full-time.
This was a real solid display by the Parisians in knocking the league leaders of the top in place of themselves and inflicting their first home defeat of the season.
Talk of a Ligue 1 title charge is by no means premature.