PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN 2-0 Olympique de Marseille
1970 PSG Man Of The Match: Javier Pastore
PSG grabbed the classique bragging rights with a 2-0 win over Marseille on Wednesday night whilst booking a place in the ¼ finals of the Coupe de la Ligue.
Thiago Silva’s penalty and a second-half strike from Jeremy Menez ended OM’s four year unbeaten run in the competition and finally loosening their three year stranglehold on the trophy.
Hours prior to the game it was revealed by Le Parisien that Zlatan Ibrahimovic had been left out of the matchday squad. This was not a surprise as it had been speculated that Carlo Ancelotti was considering the possibility of giving him a rest. Having not trained with the squad for two days – participating in individual sessions instead – it made sense. Guillaume Hoarau took his place up top, supported by Menez and Javier Pastore.
There was no drastic change to the shape as such. Momo Sissoko came into the midfield trio along with Mathieu Bodmer – holding – and Blaise Matuidi in his accustomed left-hand side. Marco Verratti had been rested too along with goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu as Nicolas Douchez took his place. Zoumana Camara partnered Thiago Silva in the centre of defence.
Les Parisiens started the better of the two sides, attacking vigorously with Menez and Pastore looking particularly threatening. PSG should have taken the lead after Menez dinked in a lovely ball via a free-kick which was nodded down into the penalty area by Silva for an unmarked Bodmer who blazed over.
Soon after the hosts themselves had a sight on goal as their maestro Mathieu Valbuena – a thorn in the defence all night – went agonisingly close with a right-foot curler that crept inches wide.
Then in the 27th minute PSG were awarded a penalty after Rod Fanni brought down Hoarau in the area. To add insult to injury, the full-back was sent-off even though there was a covering defender within his vicinity as the foul took place. Nevertheless, he was dismissed and defender Thiago Silva stepped up to coolly convert.
Despite their numerical disadvantage, Elie Baup’s side responded well and continued to dig in, creating a handful of chances.
After the break PSG weathered an early onslaught before finally putting Les Phoceens to the sword. A beautifully weighted ball by Pastore picked out Menez who brought it down diligently with the outside of his foot before firing with his left into the roof of the net.
That is how it stayed to give PSG a massive psychological advantage heading into the next round of Ligue 1 fixtures. Although Marseille can feel hard done by with the sending off, the capital club put on a professional display without their marquee striker Zlatan who was watching from the stands.
Next up is Saint-Etienne at home on Saturday afternoon who ironically we have drawn in the quarter-finals of the Coupe de la Ligue.