Paris Saint-Germain 1-1 AS Monaco
1970 PSG Man Of The Match: Maxwell
It was billed as the start of the week as a new fresh rivalry in French football that will be contested for years to come. The 1-1 draw between ourselves and Monaco last night was not a classic but it was certainly a tightly fought battle with glimpses of the quality that both teams possess.
There is absolutely no doubt that the outfit from Monte Carlo will be the happier. They came to the home of the champions, fought back from a goal down and earned a point to keep them top of the league by two points. If anybody questioned their title credentials beforehand they certainly got their answer. The Red and Whites not only posed questions in an attacking sense they also proved they are a versatile side at the back. Despite conceding last night they still have the best defensive record thus far, conceding just three. The ‘Dad’s Army’ central defensive partnership of Ricardo Carvalho and Eric Abidal is a huge reason for that. They were impressive yet again, both leading from the back and quelled a lot of PSG’s pressure on the edge of the 18-yard box.
The first-half was pretty even in every sense. We could not have asked for a better start, taking the lead in the first few minutes thanks to Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Fabinho was caught napping as Thiago Silva simply lofted the ball out wide to Maxwell who got his cross in for Ibra to prod home his second league goal of the campaign. That seemed to spur on the visitors who began to ask questions themselves.
Their equaliser came via Radamel Falcao who was not to be outdone by his adversaries in blue. 15 minutes after taking the lead Portugal international Joao Moutinho swung a delightful ball into the mix which Falcao diverted home with a diving header (You to applaud his bravery as he could have so easily taken a boot to the face).
This just compounded some rotten luck as minutes prior the skipper Thiago Silva had to make way after injuring himself whilst landing awkwardly following a jump for the ball. Veteran Zoumana Camara came on in his place and did not do too much wrong. Nevertheless, I wonder if the decision to let Mamadou Sakho go to Liverpool will come back to bite us? Especially with Alex’s injury woes of late.
After the break we were the superior team. If anyone looked like scoring it was us but we were unable to capitalise on our pressure in the first ten minutes. That led to the game petering out somewhat with large chunks of the play laboured in midfield.
In terms of chances, Zlatan squandered two fabulous ones in the first and second halves of the game. Nevertheless, he had a telling influence on the game as usual with much of the dynamism coming from him. Ezequiel Lavezzi was superb yet again before he was replaced by Lucas. He seemed to have an ice pack on him when took his seat on the bench so perhaps an injury played a a part in that change.
So in the end a point is all we could muster. It takes us up to second but we remain two points behind Claudio Ranieri’s men. Neither side wanted to lose so a draw in the end was a fair result. It sets us up nicely to seek maximum points against Valenciennes and then Toulouse before the ‘classique’ on the 6th October against Marseille.