PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN 2-0 Olympique Marseille
1970 PSG Man Of The Match: Blaise Matuidi
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It was short but definitely sweet as David Beckham made his debut for Paris Saint-Germain last night in the 2-0 win in the first classique in as many days.
The Englishman was given a rapturous welcome and even prior to kick-off as he was introduced to the Parc as the famous Beatles song ‘Hey Jude’ blared around the stadium. ‘Beck-Cam’ was in full swing as well for Canal+ but 90% of their footage entailed of him either sitting on the bench or warming up on the sidelines. He made his debut with just less than 20 minutes remaining and even though it was far from spectacular, he still played a part in the win. It was his dink for Jeremy Menez to get into the penalty area which culminated in Zlatan Ibrahimovic glancing the Frenchman’s ball home with his knee to round off a flattering 2-0 win in stoppage time. Becks played a tiny part in the victory but most of his playing time had to be defensive based and disciplined as Marseille pressed us constantly.
Lucas Moura returned to the fold after missing the defeat to Sochaux through injury as he, Ezequiel Lavezzi and Javier Pastore supported Zlatan up top. Marco Verratti and Blaise Matuidi anchored the midfield as Sylvain Armand came into central defence with Alex due to Mamadou Sakho being out via injury.
The atmosphere was electric and the roof on the Parc nearly came off when Lavezzi rattled the post in the opening minute after a beautiful diligent flick from Ibra to find him. The Argentine smashed the up-right and very nearly gave us an early lead.
The game was frenetic as OM showed their credentials as they pressed, making it uneasy for us whilst playing some exhilarating stuff of their own. In particular Mathieu Valbuena and Foued Kadir were outsanding throughout the game.
We took the lead thanks to a real spot of good fortune. Lucas thought he opened his account as his shot took two deflections off Joey Barton and Nicolas N’Koulou before subsequently trickling into the net. The Brazilian did brilliantly to weave into a pocket of space before getting his shot away and he wielded away in jubilation. Unfortunately for him, the goal went down as an OG for N’Koulou.
Elie Baup’s team could not have responded any better, they were terrific. Credit where credit is due, they will feel hard done by at not going back to the south of France with at least a point. Time and time again they poured forward in the second-half and were denied numerous times by Salvatore Sirigu. The Italian made one save in particular from an Andre Ayew header that was reminiscent of David Seaman’s save against Sheffield United in 2003 as he clawed the ball away from behind him. He proved his worth again and is undoubtedly a match winner in his own right.
The scoreline flattered us in truth. Zlatan had an off-night and his goal was a fortuitous one but we do not care about that. What mattered was the result and we got it by playing below our usual standard. An old cliché but it is the sort of victory that wins championships, particularly this one which puts Marseille eight points behind us. We restore our three point lead over Olympique Lyonnais in the process and now it is looking to be a straight out duel between ourselves and Les Gones for the title.