PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN 0-0 Lille OSC
Paris Saint-Germain fought for a valiant point at home to Lille this evening in a 0-0 stalemate that moves them back to level on points with Montpellier at the top of Ligue 1.
In a frenetic affair with chances at both ends, Coach Antoine Kombouare should be delighted at witnessing his team produce a hard-fought display against the reigning champions.
The game had an open feel to it right from the get go. PSG burst out the traps with some high tempo counter attacks which the visitors repelled superbly. As for the visitors, they settled into a rhythm and played some delightful football, keeping hold of possession with Eden Hazard in particular looking dangerous.
14 minutes in, it was the men in white who had the first real effort on goal. Once again, lovely build-up with a string of passes allowed Florent Balmont to find some space just outside the dee but his driven effort was tipped over the bar by Salvatore Sirigu.
Minutes later, Nene’s in swinging corner from the right nearly inadvertently crept in past Mickael Landreau’s near-post, had it not been for the former PSG stopper’s fists.
With the game evenly poised and chances few and far between, Kevin Gameiro squandered a magnificent opportunity to open the scoring. Javier Pastore did exceptionally well to pick out the striker in the box with a delicate dink but the Frenchman was caught in two minds and his left-foot effort was dragged well wide of the target.
With both team enjoying their far share of possession, it was evident that a lack of sparkle – despite both teams possessing marquee names – was lacking in the final third.
That was to change after the interval with the Parisians looking all the more threatening. Pastore latched onto Mathieu Bodmer’s diligent ball but the Argentine’s stinging effort failed to sneak in past Landreau’s near post and rustled the side netting instead.
A flowing counter attack was somewhat disrupted as Nene and Gameiro got in each other’s way, resulting in the number 10 checking back and miscuing his shot.
Lille gradually got themselves back into it with some joyful football. Balmont was proving to be a real handful and his ball across the face of goal was very nearly deflected goalbound by PSG’s Milan Bisevac. The subsequent corner was met by the head of Mathieu Debuchy but Sirigu got his body behind the ball.
The home side always had the capability to construct a free flowing counter-attack and Pastore produced a trademark surge down the middle, picking out Menez to his right but the Frenchman opted to cross into no man’s land rather than shoot – the chance ultimately going begging.
Les Dogues conjured up some late chances to nearly take the spoils. Idrissa Gueye stung the palms of Sirigu with a long-range effort and Franck Beria went agonisingly close on the half-volley which crept inches wide of the left-hand post.
Sirigu again proved just how indispensible he is to the team in stoppage time, first by smothering the danger in the penalty area and then using his agility to swipe away Ireneusz Jelen’s swerving effort on the edge of the 18-yard box.
In the end, the game finished as a stalemate but it is a great result for the men in blue. The champions proved their quality during the 90 and PSG matched them throughout. LOSC move up a place into third whilst Les Rouge-et-Bleu go joint top with Montpellier who drew 1-1 with Toulouse yesterday.
It is all tightening up at the top as we approach the final game of the year before the winter break.