Dijon FCO 1-2 PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN
10-man Paris Saint-Germain defeated Dijon right at the death thanks to some quick thinking by Jeremy Menez to set-up substitute Kevin Gameiro who netted his first goal in five matches and send Les Parisiens four points clear – momentarily at least – at the Ligue 1 summit.
Mohamed Sissoko was dismissed prior to the interval before Siaka Tiene netted his first goal for the club, only to be pegged back late on by Steven Paulle. With the hosts pressing for a winner they were outdone on the counter-attack with Les Parisiens taking the spoils.
The game started off on an even keel, with neither team really penetrating one another and this suited the visitors. Carlo Ancelotti’s side were bossing possession and playing some neat intricate football but just could not find that elusive opener. Carlo continued with the tried and tested 4-2-3-1 formation from last week with Javier Pastore out wide on the left, Nene on the opposite flank and Menez filling in between.
The capital club had the first real effort on goal. With 12 minutes gone, Menez cut inside from the left having interchanged with Pastore, rolled the ball for Guillaume Hoarau whose shot was blocked and Pastore’s effort on the rebound was cleared off the line.
Menez was looking bright and had a number of chances himself. He weaved his way diligently alongside the 18-yard box before unleashing a vicious effort on goal that was well saved by Baptiste Reynet to his right. He then nearly produced a piece of magic as El Flaco dinked the ball into his path from the byline but the Frenchman’s meeting on the volley flashed inches over the crossbar.
With the team looking comfortable, Mohamed Sissoko was dismissed with a straight red card by referee Philippe Malige. The Malian went in for a challenge on Eric Bautheac and seemed to win the ball fairly but with his studs showing it was deemed as dangerous play by the official who had no hesitation in reaching for the card. Ancelotti was left fuming at the incident and even went to confront Malige in his dressing room at the interval as seen by the Canal+ cameras – muttering the words “unbelievable” as he departed the room.
No changes were made in personnel after the break but Pastore lined up alongside Matuidi just in front of the back-four with Nene and Menez resuming behind Hoarau.
Despite the numerical disadvantage, PSG took the lead thanks to Tiene of all people. Hoarau did brilliantly – despite losing his footing – to ease past Chaher Zarour into the box and played the ball across the face of goal for the Ivorian to side-foot into the net.
The men in white looked comfortable. Even though Dijon were dominating possession they hardly tested Salvatore Sirigu. Menez could have even wrapped the game up had he been more composed in finding the pass for an unmarked Pastore lurking in the box after doing brilliantly with his burst of pace to get away from the defence.
Once again however, PSG’s inability to deal with set-pieces comprehensively was telling as the home side equalised via a corner. The ball swinging outwards was flicked on for Paulle to head home at the back-post in the 76th minute.
From then on in it seemed if they would go on to win the game as they mounted so much pressure but their naivety cost them massively in stoppage time. As they sent everyone up for a set-piece, they were left exposed at the back as Menez capitalised by gaining the ball, sprinting forward with no let up and squared the ball for Gameiro who took one touch before smashing home to mark euphoric scenes for those affiliated with the club.
It is yet another show of character from a side that just does not know when to give up. Ancelotti has certainly brought something with him since his arrival and his winning mentality is rubbing off on the players.
This may be an old cliché, but with the team’s back up against the wall it was a performance worthy of champions.