PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN 2-2 FC Lorient
(4′ Maxwell OG, 45′ Aliadiere, 64′ 87′ Ibrahimovic)
1970 PSG Man Of The Match: Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Zlatan was indeed the man as he inspired Paris Saint-Germain into salvaging a point at home to Lorient after trailing by two goals to nil at half-time.
The away side left the Parc des Princes stunned as they overrun us countless times in the first-half and fully deserved their lead at the break. After a dressing down by Carlo Ancelotti, PSG came out as a completely different animal and turned the whole game on its head in a domineering performance.
Ancelotti sprung a couple of surprises with his selection. Marco Verratti was thrown straight into a midfield trio accompanied by Clement Chantome and Mathieu Bodmer. Nicolas Douchez was also given a rare start in place of Salvatore Sirigu who is not quite up to full match fitness after a strenuous week at Camp des Loges. Ezequiel Lavezzi up took his place on the left wing with Jeremy Menez on the opposite side with Zlatan playing as the lone striker up top. Nene had to be content with a place on the bench and Javier Pastore was not involved due to suspension.
Les Parisiens started off brightly and could have taken the lead. Lavezzi with a lovely jinking run found Menez in the box whose shot was blocked by the shins of Fabien Audard. The goalkeeper then quickly distributed the ball throwing it out to Kevin Monnet-Pacquet who sprung down the left-hand side, playing a neat one-two in the process before playing the ball into the box that was turned into the net by Maxwell for an own goal. The Brazilian got spaghetti legged as he tried to sort his feet but to no avail.
PSG did respond well, they kept possession but just lacked something in the final third and Ibrahimovic was finding himself isolated. He nearly got the equaliser half-way through the half but after Lavezzi prodded the ball out of the goalkeeper’s reach and into his path, the Swede’s shot was blocked heroically by Gregory Bourillon.
Lorient were asking the more questions though as Alain Traore went agonisingly close as he shot from the inside left of the box with the ball thrashing millimetres past the post.
Then on the stroke of half-time, disaster for the home team. Jeremy Aliadiere looked a class above anyone on the pitch as he slicked his way through four PSG players into the box before diligently slotting the ball past Douchez to the bemusement of the Parc. Kudos to Aliadiere for the goal which was beautifully done but the defending was nothing short of embarrassing.
After the break, the men in blue looked a completely different side. From the get go they dominated, creating chance after chance. Lavezzi and Ibrahimovic were focal to that and both had chances. Zlatan rattled the crossbar after Lavezzi played a teasing cross from the left and the big man – who was unmarked – shot first time only to be denied by the frame of the goal.
It sparked a reaction from the fans who got right behind the team and it paid off as Ibrahimovic finally found a breakthrough. He got on the end of a looping long ball into the box, bringing it down with his chest, using his power to usher Bourillon out of the way and scrambling the ball into the net for his first competitive goal for the club.
From there on in, Ancelotti’s side believed they could get the equaliser. Nene was brought on shortly before the goal and he was in the thick of things, giving PSG even more edge. With his future still in doubt the Brazilian still played how he normally does, imperiously.
We kept knocking on the door. Chantome had a goal wrongfully disallowed for offside but it was not to matter as Blaise Matuidi was fouled in the box by Bourillon with three minutes to go resulting in a penalty and a sending off. With all the pressure on his shoulders, Zlatan stepped up calm, composed and ready and slotted the ball past Audard to the elation of the Parc.
So it was not a winning start for the team but an eventful one nevertheless. Plenty of positives to take from the second-half but just as many negatives from the first. The defence looked a shambles at times, and the midfield became a little overrun. On the positive side, Verratti put in a mature display showing his class with passing that has likened him to Andrea Pirlo. Lavezzi was excellent as too Nene when he came on. However, the man of the night and the man of the match was undoubtedly Ibrahimovic. Everything PSG conjured up in the second-half, included him, linking up superbly with his teammates and genuinely showing just what a world class player he is. We are certainly lucky to have him.