Paris Saint-Germain have gone back to the top of Ligue 1 – at least momentarily – following a 1-3 victory away to Nice this evening. Javier Pastore netted a brace as Edinson Cavani put matters to bed with a penalty in the 69th minute.
Coach Laurent Blanc said pre-match that this was a ‘must win’ game. It was imperative to put the Barca defeat behind us and focus on domestic matters in hand. It ups the pressure on Lyon tomorrow night as they face Saint-Etienne in the Rhone Valley derby.
Just like the game in midweek we were depleted on senior names. Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Marco Verratti, Thiago Motta and Thiago Silva were all out. Lucas Moura made his first start in two months which allowed Pastore to drop deeper in the midfield trio. The full-backs were rotated; Lucas Digne and Serge Aurier came in. David Luiz was skipper in the centre of defence alongside Marquinhos.
There is no denying, the better team in the first 45 minutes were the hosts. Said Benrahma came within a whisker of giving OGCN the lead as his curling effort went centimetres wide of Salvatore Sirigu’s post. Luiz just before that made a vital block on Alassane Plea.
Against the run of play, El Flaco opened the scoring five minutes before the break. Lucas who was easing his way back into the swing of things dribbled forward and played a diligent through ball for the Argentine who finished with precision.
We would not go into the break with the lead however as a former Parisian equalised on the stroke of half-time. Mathieu Bodmer was on hand to swipe home Benrahma’s effort from distance as PSG tried to clear their lines. It was a disappointing end to the half for us but you could not begrudge Le Gym the equaliser as their performance merited it.
In the second-half we took control. Pastore was our man of the match and consolidated that by putting us into the lead to complete his brace. His ball juggling skills in the box allowed him to smash an effort on goal that was well saved by Simon Pouplin but he could not deny the number 27’s follow up.
Cavani was brought down by Jordan Amavi resulting in a penalty and the number 9 was on hand to convert which was his first in 10 league games.
Big win in the end for the football club. No Champions League hangover! And with key personnel to return over the coming days, we can give it a go in the Camp Nou on Tuesday.
What will be, will be.