PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN 2-0 Toulouse FC
1970 PSG Man Of The Match: Marco Verratti
Paris Saint-Germain have closed the gap on league leaders Marseille by three points after an accomplished 2-0 win over Toulouse at the Parc des Princes last night.
Goals from Javier Pastore and talisman Zlatan Ibrahimovic made the difference in a match where young Marco Verratti come to the fore once again with a meticulous display.
Coach Carlo Ancelotti left out Ezequiel Lavezzi – even though his suspension was up – to give him a rest due to the air miles he has racked up in the past two weeks whilst on international duty with Argentina. So, Jeremy Menez and Javier Pastore kept their supporting roles to Zlatan in what was an unchanged team from the one that beat Lille two weeks ago.
Both team started spritely, with an array of early counter-attacks as each looked to take the game by the scruff of the neck. Ibrahimovic nearly opened the scoring after majestically bamboozling two TFC players to get into the box but his tame right foot shot was turned away for a corner by goalkeeper Ali Ahamada.
The interchanging and the retention of possession by the hosts was impressive. The passing and movement gave Toulouse problems as they sat back trying to absorb the pressure, which they did successfully in truth.
They were a threat themselves in the final third. In-form striker Wissam Ben Yedder brought out a world class save from Salvatore Sirigu from distance that stung the palms of the Italian. Soon after Moussa Sissoko sliced through the hosts midfield but as he bore in on goal he dragged his shot disappointingly wide.
Toulouse had their spells but as the half wore on, PSG were tightening the screw and Marco Verratti was certainly contributing to that. The Italian prodigy was dictating the course of play as he sat deep in midfield, in between Thiago Motta and Blaise Matuidi. Every pass was accurate and he played some excellent cross field passes open the game up. It was he who assisted the opening goal for Pastore in the 38th minute. He diligently played the ball over the top for Pastore who got in behind the defence and crafted a stupendous little dink over the keeper to the jubilation of the Parc. The away side were unhappy because Ibrahimovic was in an offside position during the play but Pastore was not meaning their argument was invalid.
After the interval, PSG were relatively comfortable. The trio in midfield were assured and the defence, in particular Mamadou Sakho, were resolute.
With Alain Casanova’s team searching for that elusive equaliser, they were left vulnerable at the back and they were made to pay 20 minutes from time. Verratti again involved, played the ball to Pastore in his own half with El Flaco releasing a surging Menez down the right side who eventually rolled the ball across goal for Ibrahimovic to steer home at the far post. The Swede’s fifth of the season.
Much like the victory in Lille, it was another professional performance by the team. There were moments of brilliance but all in all, an efficient display. The football at times was mesmeric and the side looks to be gelling more and more as the weeks go by. With that win it moves us up to third but the table will of course change due to other results over the weekend.
Nevertheless, the signs are good and now we have a date with the Champions League to look forward to on Tuesday. Bring it on!