Paris Saint-Germain 2-1 FC Nantes
1970 PSG Man Of The Match: Ezequiel Lavezzi
They could not do it last Wednesday but they did last night! Paris Saint-Germain sit top of the Ligue 1 table this morning – at least for the time being. Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s brace was enough to overcome an FC Nantes side that took the lead in emphatic fashion via Alejandro Bedoya. The victory also cemented a piece of history as it is the 1000th in the 34-year history of the club. Now it is up to Marseille tonight as they need to beat FC Metz at the Velodrome if they are to regain top-spot.
As expected, Laurent Blanc made his usual pre-Champions League changes. The full-backs were rotated, Marquinhos came in for David Luiz and Adrien Rabiot came into the centre of midfield with the returning Marco Verratti and Javier Pastore. Edinson Cavani started from the bench as Ibrahimovic completed the whole 90 minutes.
We simply did not get going in the first 10-15 minutes of the game. As I initially feared, minds were blatantly elsewhere. No doubt they were in Barcelona! Because of that, some slack play allowed Nantes to break forward which resulted in the American Bedoya netting an absolute screamer to the delirium of Les Canaris. Salvatore Sirigu was beaten all ends up and had no chance of saving.
Minutes later, they had a goal chalked off for offside. Papiss Djilobodji was able to put away Jordan Veretout’s exceptional delivery but he strayed just marginally offside. On another day, it could have stood. It was that tight!
We began to get our act together soon after that as the half wore on. Things settled down as we played our usual game.
We equalised 10 minutes before the end of the half and who was involved? Pastore and Lucas Moura of course. Yet again the two of them contributed greatly all game. They make things happen. Creating something out of nothing. El Flaco played the ball to LM on the right-hand who then swept a delicious cross into the box for Ibra to slide into the net. The movement from the striker for the goal was fantastic and if he is still having trouble with his heel, he showed no sign of it.
The Swede then put us into the lead with a thunderbolt of a freekick after the interval. It was a stunner! And it’s his sixth goal from a direct freekick in a Parisian shirt. The Parc des Princes lit up as the ball nearly took the net off!
From then on, we dominated the next half-hour but Nantes started cranking up the pressure in the last 10 minutes. Thankfully we held on for what is a massive victory! It sends us top for the time being at least and keeps the momentum ahead of the visit to the Camp Nou.
Zlatan will get the plaudits and rightfully so but I felt Ezequiel Lavezzi was terrific. His work rate is second to none. The Argentine ran his socks off again for the team! Serge Aurier had – in my opinion – his best outing in a PSG shirt. Some of the deliveries were Van der Wiel esc! Marco Verratti completed over an hour as he regains match fitness. He still found the time to pick up a yellow card though.
Overall Blanc was happy but realises there is room for improvement; “We’re happy to have won, but we will need to improve to get a win against Barcelona. This evening was also the 1,000th victory for the club which is great, as is the fact that we are still undefeated.”
Next up is that epic clash with Lionel Messi and co. Bring it on!