PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN 3-2 AJ Auxerre
Huge sigh of relief this evening for Paris Saint-Germain as they overcame Auxerre 3-2 at the Parc des Princes and stay within touching distance of league leaders Montpellier.
A goal from Jeremy Menez and a brace from Nene was enough to ensure the Parisians end their four game winless streak.
They started very much on the front foot, dominating the early possession and making their opponents defend much of the opening quarter in their own half.
Javier Pastore had the first real opportunity in the seventh minute as Nene delivered one of his trademark balls from the left but the Argentine was unable to steer it goal-bound with his head.
Despite being camped in their own half, AJA did pose a threat on the counter-attack, in particular Dennis Oliech who was giving Siaka Tiene a problem or two down the left. Alain Traore tried his luck from distance only to be denied by Salvatore Sirigu’s outstretched hand to his bottom left.
With chances few and far between, Mohamed Sissoko really should have done better from Nene’s corner after finding the space in the penalty area but completely mistimed his header that went miles wide.
After the interval, the Parisians raced out the traps but spurned two golden opportunities. Pastore, from six yards out was unable to tuck the ball past Olivier Sorin after Jallet and Menez did superbly well to carve AJA up down the right, only for the Argentine to miscue his shot. Then a minute later, Nene was doomed to book of howlers as he missed an open goal at the back post and hit the foot of the woodwork. Again Menez the architect, cut inside from the right, weaved into a little pocket of space and put it on a plate for the number 10 who fluffed his lines.
Thankfully, the men in blue were not left to rue those chances and Jallet – of all people – opened the scoring in the 52nd minute. The buildup was immaculate, Nene’s looping ball into the box was headed back by Gameiro to the feet of Menez who then laid it on a plate for Jallet whose scuffed effort deflected in past Sorin.
In total control and looking the more likely to score again, PSG allowed Auxerre back into the game through Oliech. The defence backed off and allowed him to to stroll through the middle before shooting straight at Sirigu who fumbled the ball back into his path and bundled the ball home via a deflection.
That set the nerves jangling once again in the Parc as the home side searched for that elusive second. Thankfully it came via Menez in the 76th minute as his half volley at the back post from another delicate ball in from Nene had Sorin beaten all ends up.
Minutes later, Nene was brought down in the penalty area by Cendric Hengbart and subsequently converted the spot-kick after stuttering in his run-up.
With the game all but over, Auxerre came back into it thanks to a piece of brilliance from substitute Dariusz Dudka. The Polish international rifled his free-kick home into Sirigu’s top left-hand corner giving the Italian no chance.
Nevertheless, Antoine Kombouare’s men held on to ease the pressure and get back within three points of leaders Montpellier at the top of the table.
Nene and Menez worked in tandem superbly as they have done for the majority of the campaign, ultimately making the difference. It was a much more fluid and accomplished performance that was only marred by defensive errors.
They will travel to Sochaux next weekend with some much needed confidence in their ranks.