SC Bastia 0-4 PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN
1970 PSG Man Of The Match: Blaise Matuidi
A much changed Paris Saint-Germain-XI got the job done this evening, overcoming a resilient Bastia side 4-0 to send us up into the top three.
Goals from Jeremy Menez, Blaise Matuidi and a brace from Zlatan Ibrahimovic settled matters in a spiky affair at the Stade Armand Cesari.
Carlo Ancelotti rang the changes from the team that has served him so well in the last few weeks. Clament Chantome kept his place in the team in place of the inured Thiago Motta as Javier Pastore was replaced by Nene as the Argentine has been hampered with a hip injury since midweek. Mamadou Sakho came in for Alex, Sylvain Armand was given a rare start in place of Maxwell and Gregory van der Wiel was handed his debut in place of captain Christophe Jallet. The coach opted to make use of his squad and it certainly paid off.
Les Parisiens started the game under a little bit of pressure from Les Bleus. Right from the get go they looked to press forward and were rallied on by their buoyant supporters. PSG weathered the early storm and took the lead in the fifth minute via Menez. An easily worked goal as Nene played a free kick into the box that was met by Ibrahimovic on the half volley, diverting it across the face of goal for the Frenchman to tap home. The Bastia defence will have been annoyed for the concession as they were just caught ball watching, making it too easy for the men in red.
PSG were then enjoying their lion share of possession. Even for our dominance in that sense, the hosts still posed a threat going forward. Whabi Khazri in particular had his eyes for goal. First his shot at Sirigu’s near post gave the Italian a problem as he fumbled the ball out for a corner before coming up with spectacular save to deny the Frenchman’s curling free kick.
Carlo’s men still looked the more dominant and conjured up chances on the counter-attack. Some great play as Nene knocked the ball out left for Armand whose pearler of a cross met Ibrahimovic’s head, cushioning it for an on rushing Matuidi who volleyed over.
The away team finally doubled the lead soon after through Ibrahimovich, five minutes before the break. Some great interchanging passing between himself and Verratti allowed the Italian to diligently dink the ball into his path with the Swede prodding the ball home.
After the interval the home side got in the faces of their guests creating a scrappy affair for the majority of the second-half. A lot of handbags between both sets of players resulted in a lot of stop, start play with referee Said Ennjimi brandishing the yellow cards.
Van der Wiel was a recipient for one for lashing out at former PSG player Jerome Rothen and was lucky that it was not the other colour. The fans in the ground also played their part in some of the confrontational scenes by bombarding the pitch with objects, in the direction of the PSG players.
Unsurprisingly however, with Bastia looking to get back in the game they opened up at the back and the capital club made it 3-0 via Matuidi of all people. He uncharacteristically found himself in the final third, beating the offside trap to latch onto Nene’s through ball and slotted home.
Ibrahimovic then completed his brace, netting his seventh league goal of the season – eight in total – by delicately sliding the ball under goalkeeper Macedo Novaes in stoppage time.
This was a difficult game for us, even though it turned out to be comfortable in the end. The Ligue 2 winners proved to be no pushovers and made it hard for us. Nevertheless, the gulf in class prevailed making it three straight league victories – four in total.
Ancelotti believes the victory over Lille before the international break has sparked his squad, telling reporters after the game; “Something has changed after the victory at Lille and we have gained confidence”. Long may it continue Carletto.