Nice 2-1 PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN
Paris Saint-Germain have suffered a damaging defeat at the hands of Nice in what was a real miserable night for the club.
Two late goals – with a Zlatan Ibrahimovic equaliser sandwiched in between – condemned the capital club to a third league defeat which leaves us five points off the pace with Lyon retaining top spot with a win over champions Montpellier.
Carlo Ancelotti opted to leave Javier Pastore out of the team again, sticking with Jeremy Menez and Ezequiel Lavezzi in supporting Zlatan up top. Maxwell kept his place in midfield with Sylvain Armand up-taking the left-back berth as he did so well in the week. Thiago Silva retained the captaincy despite Christophe Jallet being in the starting-XI.
Despite the first-half being goalless, Les Parisiens edged it but were unable to find that elusive opener. Nice made it extremely difficult for us. As soon as we entered the final third they suffocated our space, doubling up on whoever was in possession and limiting us to a handful of chances.
Jeremy Menez was the protagonist, having a sterling half. He weaved down the left-hand side giving his opponents food for thought, turning them inside and out at times. One instance led to a golden chance for Ibrahimovic who found the space in the box, firing straight at David Ospina who spilled and Lavezzi scuffed the rebound wide when he perhaps should have scored.
After the interval, we totally bossed the opening quarter of an hour that preceded it. Jallet did ever so well to win the ball on the right, slipping in an on rushing Lavezzi who played the across goal for Menez to shoot, but he opted to pull it back to no avail. He would have been better off shooting where the goal was gaping, albeit at a tight angle.
The game took a massive swing in terms of dominance in the favour of the hosts. Ancelotti made two changes, bringing on Van der Wiel for Jallet and Pastore for Armand, slotting into midfield with Maxwell reverting back to left-back. It really made us disjointed, particularly down the flanks where the visitors found their joy for the goals.
Nicolas Douchez, in for the injured Salvatore Sirigu (picking up a knock on Friday in training) conjured up a terrific save to deny a close range header via a corner which looked for all the world to be going in.
Minutes later, Le Gym took the lead in the 76th minute. Their top scorer Dario Cvitanich completely bamboozled Van der Wiel with a wonderful piece of individual play, beating three white shirts except for Douchez who produced a magnificent save but was unable to prevent the follow up from Eric Bautheac.
Guillaume Hoarau was brought on for Clement Chantome as Ancelotti felt the pressure. Zlatan looked to have got us out of jail – again – with a smashing free-kick from 25-yards out but a piece of suicidal play, handed the win on a plate for the home side.
Hoarau, cheaply gave the ball away, allowing Nice to cross the ball in from the left-hand side which was met by an unmarked Valentin Eysseric on the volley at the back-post. Maxwell had been sucked in and was unaware of the man behind him who finished brilliantly.
The night got even worse when Blaise Matuidi was given his marching orders in stoppage time with a second yellow for pushing over the goalkeeper. A ban for him looms.
It was a terrible night for the club. It leaves us five points off the top, and in disarray in truth with a game against the Portuguese champions looming on Tuesday. The same Portuguese champions that turned us over back in October.