PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN 1-0 Lille OSC
1970 PSG Man Of The Match: Salvatore Sirigu
Lady luck was well and truly smiling on Paris Saint-Germain tonight with a 1-0 win over 2011 champions Lille at the Parc des Princes.
Aurelien Chedjou’s own goal in the second-half was enough to give us all three points in a hard fought contest with Rudi Garcia’s men. The OG does not tell the whole story however as the visitors can count themselves desperately unlucky not to leave the capital with at least a point.
Carlo Ancelotti reintroduced Jeremy Menez and Lucas Moura into the team after they started on the bench against Toulouse in the week. That meant that Javier Pastore up-took a place on the bench before coming on midway through the second-half. Sylvain Armand partnered Mamadou Sakho in the heart of the defence as they did on Wednesday and helped aid another clean sheet.
The man in between the sticks, Salvatore Sirigu made history by keeping another team at bay. He has broken the club record that was set by Bernard Lama, exceeding the 697 minutes without conceding a goal. On another night however, his overall minutes haul could have been stopped dead in its tracks.
Lille felt they should have been in the lead at half-time. A bullet of a header from Ronny Rodelin just before half-time looked to have given the visitors the lead only for the linesman to rule it out. He felt that Nolan Roux was in the peripheral vision of Sirigu as the header came in – and as he was offside – was therefore interfering with play. That did not sit well with Garcia who had a face like thunder and even spoke to referee Fredy Fautrel in his office at half-time.
Prior to that, Les Parisiens were bossing possession up until the half-hour mark as LOSC came back into it and enjoyed spells of their own with the ball.
After the interval, Lille looked comfortable in truth. Even though we had the lion share of possession, we did not create anything clear cut. Then, Pastore was introduced in place of Menez and his telling ball out wide for Ezequiel Lavezzi created the goal. El Pocho swung the ball in from the right which was fumbled by goalkeeper Steeve Elana into Chedjou’s chest and it bundled over the line to give us the lead. It was a huge piece of fortune for us, considering how resolute their defence had been up to that point.
Tuilio de Melo rattled the post also late on after doing everything right except score. On a number of occasions they carved us open. Dimitri Payet was a thorn in our side all night yet we still held on.
The win could be one that captures the title at the end of the season. It is so massively important and had everything about the hallmark of champions. Luck, grittiness, desperation at times but nevertheless there was an endeavour from us that can only be applauded. We were far from pretty, like many occasions this season, but we still got the job done.
15 clean sheets is no fluke and the defence this year is a different kettle of fish to the one last season that leaked goals for fun.
Long may it continue.