PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN 2-1 AS NANCY
1970 PSG MAN OF THE MATCH: ZLATAN IBRAHIMOVIC
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Carlo Ancelotti was right in his assessment of the win over Nancy yesterday when he said; “We showed a lot of character and energy in a crucial match for the championship”. Trailing 1-0 at the break it could have been easy to fall into old habits as we did against Sochaux and Reims but we didn’t and conjured up a professional 45 minutes, largely thanks to Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s potency.
One thing we had failed to do all season prior to yesterday was win a match after falling a goal behind. When Benjamin Moukandjo put the visitors into the lead, it was not exactly against the run of play. Yes, we dominated possession but without really carving any meaningful opportunities. It may have looked as if the midweek game against Valencia had taken its toll. Nancy were bright in spells and like many teams we have faced this season they had a game plan to stifle us which worked to some effect. Their goal had a spot of good fortune as well as great awareness. First from Djamel Bakar to slide the ball through for Moukandjo who brought out a good save from Salvatroe Sirigu before looping the ball with his head over Thiago Silva and into the net from the rebound.
The chorus of boos were deafening at half-time, many of the Parisien fans were unhappy with what had transpired. Much like a lot of our performances this season, we have failed to really get at teams right from the get go. We are notoriously slow starters to games, always have been. It does take us a while to get into a rhythm but when we do we play some wonderful football.
Carlo Ancelotti made a slight tactical change which altered an awful lot. Jeremy Menez was brought on for Javier Pastore and played just off Ibra as Ezequiel Lavezzi moved out to the left-hand side with Lucas Moura on the opposite. Unfortunately for the Brazilian he had to go off injured and was replaced by Kevin Gameiro just before the hour mark. Effectively we were playing a 4-4-2, going forward at least and it worked as it has so many times this season.
Zlatan levelled things up after Menez capitalised on a mistake by Sebastien Puygrenier whose slack control allowed him to prod the ball through for the Swede in the box who then finished with aplomb. Three minutes later (62 mins) he completed the turnaround, this time getting on the end of a Marco Verratti long ball and rounding goalkeeper Damien Gregorini – who bottled the duel with Ibra In truth – who made the number 10’s route to goal an easy one as he tapped into an open goal.
The game somewhat petered out after that which suited us down to the ground. We did sit back a little too much at times and invited the pressure but it was evident the confidence from the visitors had been zapped from them after Ibra’s brace. David Beckham came on for a 15 minute cameo role replacing Marco Verratti who was imperious again alongside Blaise Matuidi. Thiago Silva as well, back in the centre of defence looked as if he had never been away. All in all, a professional display against a team fighting for their lives at the bottom.
We are now momentarily five points clear at the top and we can sit back and watch how things pan out between Lyon and Marseille tonight.
Been a rather good few days hasn’t it?