Olympique Lyonnais 4-4 PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN
Paris Saint-Germain came back from the dead to earn a 4-4 draw away to Olympique Lyonnais in a pulsating affair that will go down as one of the greatest matches in Ligue 1 history. Guillaume Hoarau’s header in the dying embers of stoppage time ensured Carlo Ancelotti’s unbeaten run as Coach goes on.
In what was a tentative affair in the opening quarter of an hour, Lyon striker Bafetimbi Gomis had the first real effort on goal as he used his upper body strength to get away from his marker before unleashing a ferocious effort from distance that was denied by Salvatore Sirigu’s fingertips.
PSG were more than holding their own, occasionally switching from a 4-3-2-1 to a standard 4-4-2 with Javier Pastore playing just off Hoarau. Pastore had the visitor’s first real effort on goal as he headed a beautiful Christophe Jallet cross from the right at the far-post but was denied by a one handed reflex save from Hugo Lloris.
Moments later in the 20th minute, PSG broke the deadlock with a wonderfully well worked set-piece. It looked for all the world Jeremy Menez would put the ball into the mire from the right but instead pulled it back for Hoarau who was lurking on the edge of the box and he coolly slotted home.
That opened the game up as both teams began to press and carve out chances. Anthony Reveillere played a diligent ball into the box for Gomis but was unable to get his header on target. Then Les Parisiens squandered a wonderful chance as they ripped open Les Gones defence as Nene sprung down the left playing the ball across goal for Hoarau who could not direct his effort on target.
That miss proved to be costly as Remi Garde’s side equalised thanks to Gomis. The Frenchman showed his technique by hitting the ball on the volley first-time from close range giving Sirigu absolutely no chance.
Incredibly, they then took the lead two minutes later through Lisandro Lopez. Michel Bastos stretched his legs down the right before cutting onto his favoured left foot and swinging one in for the Argentine to stab home at the back-post sending the Stade de Gerland into raptures. An on looking Carlo Ancelotti looked bewildered from the dugout as to what had transpired.
He was all the more perplexed five minutes before the break as the hosts then netted a third, this time Bastos getting his name up in lights. The Brazilian scored possibly the goal of the night with a sweetly struck half-volley on the edge of the area that had Sirigu stretching all the way but was unable to reach.
Crucially, Ancelotti’s side were given a lifeline as Nene was brought down on the peripheral of the area and awarded a penalty by referee Monsieur Fautrel. The Brazilian converted elegantly as ever to cut the deficit at the break to just the one goal.
Unfortunately, things got a whole lot worse on the hour as Jimmy Briand looked to have wrapped it up by getting in front of Momo Sissoko to head home via a corner.
This is where Ancelotti proved his worth by making three crucial substitutions. Kevin Gameiro came on for Pastore, Mathieu Bodmer for Menez and Ceara for Jallet. Still utilising the 4-4-2, the change in personnel made a difference, particularly Bodmer who was playing a far more advanced role as he has done in recent weeks.
In the 73rd minute one of those changes – Ceara of all people – got them back in it by hammering the ball past Lloris as the ball found its way to his feet after some interplay in the penalty area.
That led to Parisian onslaught, culminating in wave after wave of attack. Lyon dug in but their tiring legs resulted in the title contenders pressing for that elusive equaliser. Nene should have got it sooner as Ceara’s throw-in into the box eluded everyone except the number 10 but he scuffed his shot into the ground giving the goalkeeper the chance to palm the ball away. Then Bodmer squandered an even more gilt edged chance as Lloris spilled Alex’s header into his path but the former Lyon man smashed it wide despite having the entirety of the goalmouth at his mercy.
Then in the dying embers, approaching the final minute of the four added in stoppage time – Sirigu even playing as a makeshift centre-forward at this point – Hoarau bagged what could be the most important goal of his career. The 27-year-old headed in Bodmer’s pinpoint ball back into the box to the left of Lloris that rattled the frame of the goal and into the net sparking amazing scenes. The referee practically blew-up for full-time after that as the personnel on the bench sprinted onto the pitch as if the Ligue 1 title was won. If that eventuality is to occur, this result will be a fundamental reason for it.
Montpellier are the new leaders at the top after their win over Bordeaux earlier in the day, but that aside this result is massive for the club. The character shown by the players to drag themselves back from two goals down and grind out a result like this is second to none. Ancelotti must be praised for his tactical intelligence and the ability to change the game with his changes. No doubt, they made a massive difference when they came on.
An incredible match and wonderful advert for Ligue 1. Allez PSG!