Paris Saint-Germain 2-1 FC Girondins de Bordeaux
1970 PSG Man Of The Match: Ezequiel Lavezzi
It was the youthful exuberance that changed the course of an average display into something that was dynamic, effective and culminated in Paris Saint-Germain claiming the first piece of silverware of the new season in Central Africa.
The introduction of Hervin Ongenda and Kingsley Coman turned the course of events against Bordeaux, coming from behind to win 2-1. The winner came via the head of Alex in the final minute of stoppage time to spark joyful scenes that will stand us in good stead ahead of the trip to Montpellier this coming Friday.
Laurent Blanc only made one change to his team from that which was defeated by Real Madrid last weekend. No surprise it was the reintroduction of Thiago Silva who came in alongside his compatriot Alex. Ezequiel Lavezzi was partnered up top with Zlatan Ibrahimovic as Javier Pastore and Lucas Moura operated the wings. As expected, Thiago Motta was aligned in the middle of the park with Blaise Matuidi as Maxwell kept his place at full-back along with Christophe Jallet.
The game started at a real frenetic pace with both sets of players closing each other down as quickly as possible resulting in quick, neat intricate passing. It set the tone for the rest of the evening with some quality, fast paced football throughout. We were controlling matters in terms of possession and were even creating the better chances. Thiago Motta, who has undertook set-piece duties, was causing havoc with his deliveries and on a number of occasions Silva eluded his markers to meet them but failed to hit the target.
Lavezzi was without question PSG’s main protagonist going forward. He has been terrific all pre-season and looks fitter and sharper than he ever has in a Parisien shirt. His pace was electric, which was causing Les Girondins all sorts of problems. His link-up play as well was exceptional, combining with Zlatan on a number of occasions. Pastore had a disappointing night but he did produce a nice piece of interplay with ‘Pocho’ with the latter seeing his shot blocked.
As effective Lavezzi was for us, the same can be said for Nicolas Maurice-Belay. He was running rings around Jallet who struggled to deal with him all night. The 28-year-old’s tenacity to chase a ball which was seemingly going out of play allowed him to curl the ball in for Henri Saivet who headed home and gave Francis Gillot’s men the lead at half-time.
After the interval the men in white could have quite easily killed the game off, was it not for the heroics of Salvatore Sirigu who denied local hero Andre Poko one on one and just before that Belay was undone by the law of physics as his mesmerising effort crept millimetres wide.
With PSG unable to find the answers, a triple substitution changed the whole game. Marco Verratti, Ongenda and Coman were brought on for Motta, Pastore and Lavezzi. Coman went out to the left-hand side, Coman on the opposite, with Ibra playing up top on his own. The pace of the two youngsters and their impetus to run at defenders – especially Coman – gave us something that we lacked beforehand (with exception to Lavezzi who was superb).
Zlatan had a goal wrongly chalked off for offside but moments later, Coman ran through the middle laid the ball to Zlatan who diligently curled the ball into the path of Ongenda who finished with aplomb first time in the box to equalise. It was a beautiful goal, a stunning move and the celebrations told the story. PSG wanted to win this!
Then with the game seemingly heading for penalties, Coman again was influential as he won the freekick that allowed Lucas to whip one in for Alex to head home and grab the spoils.
It is Paris Saint-Germain’s third ever Trophee des Champions title and it sets the precedent heading into the new campaign. There is still plenty of work to do but the positives are the youngsters and the ability of the coach to make a brave decision which ultimately swung the game in our favour.
Roll on Friday night! Roll on the new season!