PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN 1-2 Saint-Etienne
1970 PSG Man Of The Match: Thiago Silva
PSG succumbed to their first defeat of the season as Saint-Etienne upset the apple cart with an impressive 2-1 win at the Parc des Princes.
An organised, solid outfit were given a second wind after the interval with the emergence of Pierre Aubameyang off the bench who ultimately made the difference by forcing a Mamadou Sakho own goal and then bagging one himself.
From a Parisien perspective the game will be remembered for Zlatan Ibrahimovic being brandished a red card in the 71st minute. The big Swede has not put a foot wrong all season put it was certainly too high when it collided with the chest of goalkeeper Stephane Ruffier with referee Laurent Duhamel having no hesitation in sending him off.
It more or less epitomised the evening. We just did not get going at all and ASSE’s tactics worked a treat. They stifled our play, getting back in numbers, suffocating the midfield and looked effective when they counter-attacked. Zlatan was isolated for the majority of the game as Jeremy Menez and Javier Pastore were largely ineffective. Blaise Matuidi, who has been superb this season, had to make a premature exit for Mathieu Bodmer after picking up an injury on the half-hour mark. Clement Chantome also picked up a knock to his ankle in the second-half and had to be replaced by Momo Sissoko. The prognosis of both injuries are yet to be determined but Matuidi’s is not too serious.
Les Verts took the lead 10 minutes after the break as Aubameyang smashed the ball across the face of goal which deflected off Sakho and into the net. After Zlatan’s red card, the visitors took full advantage to wrap the game up. Alejandro Alonso bore in on goal and unselfishly squared the ball to his teammate to slot home with aplomb.
Guillaume Hoarau scored a late consolation with a neat half volley but it was not be enough.
Carlo Ancelotti was honest with his assessment, admitting we was just not good enough on the night and the better team won. He refused to blame the red card as an influence: “The red card is not deserved because he was not looking at the keeper, but at the ball. In the dressing room, he (Zlatan) did not say anything, he was disappointed. But the problem was before (the red card). We had no pace. Saint-Etienne played better than us and they deserved to win.”
However, it is a big blow as Ibra will now be suspended for the next few games.
Despite the performance being uninspired there is no need to panic. It is the first defeat of the season against a very good team. Perhaps fatigue played a part due to the effort put in by most of the starters in midweek against Marseille but that will have to be contended with again this week in the Champions League against Dinamo Zagreb. It is a perfect opportunity to get back on track before visiting the champions Montpellier next weekend.