Guingamp 1-0 Paris Saint-Germain
1970 PSG Man Of The Match: Salvatore Sirigu
When it rains, it pours for Paris Saint-Germain as the team suffered another defeat after the disappointment in the Camp Nou during the week. It is the first loss of the Ligue 1 season but the first time in eight months we have lost consecutively. We missed a golden opportunity to crank up the pressure on Marseille who face Monaco at the Stade Louis II by going top. Now, more questions will be asked about certain players in the French media.
Laurent Blanc made just one change to the side that was defeated 3-1 in Barcelona. Ezequiel Lavezzi was ushered in for Lucas Moura who started on the bench. With Javier Pastore also out due to a calf strain, we were extremely limited in attack. The two of them are vital to our counter-attacking play and because of their absence we lacked energy, especially in the first-half.
We started so brightly and could have been ahead within 90 seconds. Marco Verratti played a delightful ball over the top which was controlled diligently by the Uruguayan but his dinked effort clipped the top of the bar. The execution was excellent but the ball just would not dip enough to creep in.
That was about as much as the champions created in an average 45 minutes. EAG overpowered us in midfield and gave our defence the jitters. Particularly, Younousse Sankhare who was putting himself about all game. He could have even been sent off though for an off the ball clash with Thiago Motta that went unnoticed. His teammate Claudio Beauvue was terrific also. His quick feet and pace gave David Luiz and Thiago Silva a torrid time.
Jocelyn Gourvennec’s side took the lead in the 11th minute. Thibault Giresse played the ball into the box via a freekick which was met by the head of Sankhare and eventually Jeremy Pied to glance in as he beat Blaise Matuidi to the ball.
Thiago Silva has been under intense scrutiny this week and done himself no favours as he failed to track Sankare’s run in the box – ultimately outmuscled too – and the hosts capitalised to score. Personally, I feel the criticism the skipper has received this week has been a little overboard. He is not the player he was 12-months back but the team as a whole in Barcelona could have done better. David Luiz and Salvatore Sirigu’s miscommunication in the Lionel Messi equaliser did not help, nor did Lucas Moura’s miss at 1-1 where he should have put us in front. It is harsh to lay all the blame at the captain.
After the break, we started better. Zlatan Ibrahimovic showed tremendous technique on the volley but did not generate enough power to beat Jonas Lossl. And try as he might the Swede, he couldn’t towards the end either (as I will explain).
Moments after Beauvue beat David Luiz for pace but not the right outstretched palm of Sirigu. The Italian pulled off a wonderful save to keep us in the contest.
We should have had a penalty when Dorian Leveque blatantly handed the ball in the box to the dismay of those in Parisian shirts. Matuidi and Lavezzi were booked for their protests as Zlatan had to play role of peacemaker between them and the referee.
Yohan Cabaye made his return just before the hour mark. Lucas came on soon after but neither could integrate themselves into the game. Had LM started, we would have had a bit more about us I reckon as we lacked much needed energy in the first 45 minutes.
Sirigu came to the rescue again this time to beat Sankhare to the ball as he bore in on goal. Silva showed a rush of blood by coming out of position which left Luiz exposed and he was nutmegged by the Frenchman but thankfully SS was there to beat him to the punch.
Just as it looked for all the world we would not equalise in the dying embers, Zlatan found himself unmarked at the back post to meet the ball but his shot was spectacularly saved by Lossl to the euphoria of the home support. It was a match winning save and one Ibra respected with an embrace to the Dane at the end of the game.
So it is back to back defeats for the first time since April. The first defeat in the league this campaign and there will be serious questions asked again about Thiago Silva who did not cover himself in glory in this match. We looked average as a whole. Hardly created anything and only showed intent in the final 20 minutes.
We have two games now before the winter break but Marseille may put some breathing space between us now if they can get a result in Monte Carlo tonight.