Is There A Cure For A Champions League Hangover? Sochaux Humble Parisiens After Valencia Exploits

Sochaux 3-2 PSG




1970 PSG Man Of The Match: Ryad Boudebouz (Sochaux)



If Paris Saint-Germain were suffering from a Champions League hangover then it was certainly evident last night. With minds possibly still in Valencia, they were humbled by a spirited Sochaux side who clinched a valuable 3-2 win in their survival bid.

It is a bitter blow for us. With Marseille and Lyon winning over the weekend, our six point lead has now been cut to three. Now with a classique at home to Marseille next week, it has upped the ante even more so for Elie Baup’s side.

Carlo Ancelotti decided to go with three central midfielders and if anything it proved to be a hindrance. We have been far more fluent with just a twosome anchoring in front of the back four and it was somewhat surprising he did not go down that road. It was Clement Chantome who came in alongside Blaise Matuidi and Marco Verratti. Chantome was supporting Gregory Van der Wiel down the right-hand side until both were taken off in the second-half when we were trailing 2-1. In hindsight, Carlo may have been better off sacrificing one of the midfield trio for Kevin Gameiro which would have given us a more dynamic approach in the final third. Instead we were very predictable and FCSM were able to suss us out.

Right from the get go, Les Lionceaux got in our faces, pressuring us when we were in possession and it hurt us. They were a constant threat on the counter-attack, in particular Ryad Boudebouz and Eduoard Butin who were orchestrating the majority of them.

We took the lead against the run of play in truth. Alex did brilliantly to climb above three yellow shirts and head home a Javier Pastore corner which looped over Simon Pouplin on the half-hour mark. The five minutes which followed that we were in the ascendency but that was as brief as our domination was in the entire match.

Sochaux came back 10 minutes before the interval with a superb equaliser. Boudebouz, the architect, played the ball over the top for Sebastian Roudet to roll back the years and finish with aplomb. His route to goal was made all the more easier after Alex backed off and opted against closing him down.

After the break, there was not much change in the pattern of play and the Ligue 1 strugglers eventually took the lead. Giovanni Sio on his debut finished off a lovey one-two to fire past Salvatore Sirigu. The Italian seemed to be deceived by the bobble of the ball on the turf as he dived but nevertheless he should have saved. All game the Italian just did not seem himself. Miscuing his kicks, flailing at crosses, something we have not seen from since he arrived really.

We managed get the equaliser with a quarter of an hour left thanks to some good fortune as Mamadou Sakho swiped and effort in off Jerome Roussillon which went down as an own-goal.

Incredibly, Sochaux came back again to deservedly claim the spoils in the 85th minute. Boudebouz’s vision was key as he picked out Sloan Privat at the back-post who volleyed across goal for Cedric Bakambu to tap home. The two substitutes ultimately winning the game for them.

From a defensive point of view, it was our worst all season. We looked so vulnerable when Sochaux broke and it is incredible to think that this has transpired after going nine league games prior to last weekend without conceding and having statistically the best defence in the league. If ever there was a game that epitomised our reliance on Thiago Silva at the back it was this. He is on course to be fit next weekend and my word do we need him after this display.

Take nothing away from the victors though, they were deserved winners. If anything they looked like the team who was sitting pretty at the top of the league, not us. It gives them great hope for the remainder of the campaign.

The game as a whole was a great advert for Ligue 1.

Special mention for 16-year old Kingsley Coman who made his PSG debut when he came on for Marco Verratti. He nearly made an immediate impact as well, forcing a save from Pouplin with a curling effort. The kid is highly thought of at Camp des Loges. 

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