COUPE DE FRANCE
Montpellier HSC 0-3 Paris Saint-Germain
1970 PSG Man Of The Match: Blaise Matuidi
It may have been scrappy. Not very pretty for large parts of the game. But Paris Saint-Germain kicked off 2015 with a 3-0 victory away to Montpellier and booked a date in the next round of the Coupe de France against Bordeaux at the Parc des Princes.
On an appalling surface at the Altrad Stadium, both teams were restricted in their approach. Instead much of the play was laboured and many passes were coming up short for their intended targets. It did not make pleasant viewing on the eye with rugby markings all over the place.
Laurent Blanc made a few interesting changes. Yohan Cabaye sat in front of the back-four, supported by Clement Chantome and Adrien Rabiot in midfield. Marquinhos started at right-back and did OK. Blaise Matuidi played wide left with Lucas Moura on the opposite side and of course Zlatan Ibrahimovic as the striker.
In all honesty, the first-half was dreadful. The only notable chance from a Parisian perspective was a half-volley by Lucas that flashed over Jonathan Ligali’s crossbar. The pitch really did not help but we were pretty sluggish. Montpellier too did not really impose anything on us. For the spectator, it was a poor 45 minutes.
Things picked up after the interval and thankfully we took the lead on the hour mark thanks to Clement Chantome who popped up with a rare goal. He could have scored a few minutes prior but completely fluffed his lines with a header. This time he was on hand to tap home after some quick thinking from Ibra to keep the ball alive in the penalty area with a diligent touch. CC had a decent game; one of his better in a PSG shirt since his return from Toulouse.
Blanc made a couple of changes afterwards. Marco Verratti came on – and didn’t take long to get booked – whilst Javier Pastore made his return after recovering from his injury which put him out of action last month.
‘El Flaco’ looked fresh. He was integral in the second goal. Marquinhos took a quick throw to him and the Argentine put the ball on Ibra’s head for a close range finish.
Lucas Moura sealed matters with a fine driven shot in stoppage time to give Ligali no chance.
All in all, it was a really good result for Les Parisiens. It is nice after the debacle surrounding Ezequiel Lavezzi and Edinson Cavani to have something positive to cheer about. Blanc can be pleased with his players.
There was no standout performer but I have given man of the match to Blaise Matuidi. This is largley down to the fact he was playing in an unfamiliar position and as ever he did not let the team down. He worked his socks off!