PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN 3-0 OGC Nice
1970 PSG Men Of The Match: Thiago Silva, Javier Pastore & Jeremy Menez.
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Carlo Ancelotti demanded a response from his player’s after last week’s disappointing display in Evian which ended a dream of becoming the first Parisien side to win the double. The Italian got exactly what he asked for as Paris Saint-Germain produced a composed yet efficient display against a Nice side chasing Europe. It is a victory that puts us in touching distance of the first league title in 19 years.
Six changes were made to the team that bowed out on penalties with the most notable in central midfield. Blaise Matuidi and Marco Verratti returned to the middle of the park which gave us that bite which we lacked against Evian. To two of them kept us ticking over and began a lot of the counter attacks by playing it out towards the wide men, notably Javier Pastore. Mamadou Sakho came in for Alex alongside Thiago Silva and had a sterling performance as he always does alongside the Brazilian. Jeremy Menez kept his place up top with Zlatan Ibrahimovic who revelled in his presence.
We started out the blocks quite quickly and really took the game to OGCN. That is something we have rarely seen in Ligue 1 this season, more often than not we take a quarter of the game to really get any fluidity but obviously Ancelotti’s words rang true. It was typified by the opening goal from Menez which capped off a wonderful counter-attacking move. It all started with an interception by Verratti which Pastore then picked up, buccaneering forward and playing a return with Zlatan before playing it back for Menez to tap home. Pastore was instrumental in the goal and showed real composure with the assist as he had goalkeeper David Ospina bearing down on him.
To Nice’s credit they played some good stuff of their own. In particular former PSG player Didier Digard was causing all sorts of problems in our penalty area with his set-pieces but thankfully we were able to deal with them.
After the interval Ospina clumsily brought down Ezequiel Lavezzi in the penalty area as he tried to dribble past him. He received a red card for his trouble and Ibrahimovic popped up to make it 2-0 in emphatic fashion. The Swede’s 27th goal in the league this season.
The visitors never really recovered as they were left chasing shadows as Les Parisiens continued to keep the ball. The night was rounded off beautifully as Clement Chantome – who came off the bench – tapped in the third of the night which was set-up by Zlatan. It was a fully deserved goal for PSG’S quietest man who had not netted since 2011.
It could not have been a more perfect night. The performance was excellent, aided by a few standout performers. Thiago Silva was absolutely sensational yet again. He even scored the most improbable goal on the by-line only for it to be disallowed by the linesman who deemed that the ball had crossed the line. It was such as shame because the finish was a thing of beauty from the world’s best centre-back. Still unsure as to how he managed to find himself so far up the pitch.
Pastore as well as Menez both stood out as the main protagonists in an attacking sense. It will have done them both the world of good after the disappointment in Evian. Long may this kind of form continue?
It now means that we are just two victories away from being crowned champions. If we are being greedy, it could even be done next week if Marseille lose away to Lorient and Lyon drop points. We would exert some revenge in Evian as well with a win in in order for that to happen. It would not be sealed automatically due to points but our superior goal difference would ensure it.
Regardless, it is in our own hands. Just two wins away from a first league title in nearly two decades which has Paris buzzing with excitement. Almost there!