Paris Saint-Germain 1-0 OGC Nice
1970 PSG Man Of The Match: Lucas Moura/Javier Pastore
Paris Saint-Germain are back to within a point of leaders Marseille after a 1-0 win over Claude Puel’s Nice this evening. Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s penalty was the only solitary goal in a typical PSG performance consisting of exhilarating play in the first-half and then complacency in the second.
Coach Laurent Blanc acknowledged this in his post-match reaction by saying; “The first half was very good. The only regret to have was that we didn’t score that second goal that would have made the second half a little more comfortable. Nice realised that they could have a chance at equalising and we started making a lot of mistakes, particularly in midfield. Against Lyon and Monaco, here at the Parc, we had this type of match, without being able hold onto the win. Today we did, so it’s very positive. We earned three very important points this evening”.
The win is the most important thing. Our schedule is pretty hectic at the moment, we have Lille coming up on Wednesday, so you can understand the fatigue as the game wore on. Blanc shuffled the pack before kick-off by changing the full-backs with Lucas Digne and Serge Aurier. The young men cannot be faulted for effort but they were a little suspect at times. Thiago Silva returned the centre of defence alongside David Luiz and had an excellent game. His namesake Thiago Motta also made his return but was substituted late on in the game (perhaps an after effect from his recent injury). And finally Lucas Moura was back in the starting-XI. He along with Javier Pastore were once again the catalysts in attack.
The game started off in an even manner. We were nearly contributors to our own downfall though as Digne was dispossessed in his own box but Alassane Plea’s shot was gathered by Salvatore Sirigu.
That was a wakeup call for the men in blue as Edinson Cavani produced a decent volley that went wide. Zlatan then rattled the post after bringing the ball down with his right foot and hitting it on his left. No doubt a contender for goal of the season had the ball crept in.
The big man was soon on the score sheet though. Pastore – who was once again fabulous – scooped the ball for Lucas to carry into the box and was bundled over by two white shirts. Ibra stepped up to slot past 19-year-old Mouez Hassen.
Brazilian legend Ronaldo was in the crowd and would have appreciated what he saw. We were by far the superior team but we just could not find that elusive second. It is a conundrum Blanc has at the moment as we are not killing games off.
When this is the case, the jitters creep in. OGCN were a different side after the interval. The introduction of another Swede, Niklas Hult, on the left-wing certainly gave them more of an impetus.
Jordan Amavi could have punished Les Parisiens on a couple of occasions. The most notable was when he snuck around the defence to have a shot on goal. Thankfully it was straight as SS but the defence switched off. Amavi also went agonisingly close with a header via a set-piece that had the Italian scrambling.
In the end a win is a win. We started brightly with a flawless first-half but tired legs and minds were evident in the second. The skipper TS pointed this out in his post-match comments; “We had a good first half, but I think we can still do better. After the break we weren’t as good. Perhaps it’s the fatigue of playing every three days, and playing a team that had all week to prepare for this game. But these three points are great. Now we turn our attentions to Wednesday’s game against Lille”.