I said that Saturday afternoon’s trip to Reims would not be easy for Paris Saint-Germain and that turned out to be the case. With the hosts taking the lead so late in the game it looked as if PSG’s incredible unbeaten run in the league was about to come to an end but up popped Edinson Cavani to save the day.
As to be expected following a European game, Coach Laurent Blanc made a host of changes. The likes of Cavani, Angel di Maria, Maxwell, Thiago Motta and Blaise Matuidi all started from the bench. In came Javier Pastore, Lucas Moura, Ezequiel Lavezzi, Layvin Kurzawa making his full debut and Benjamin Stambouli.
The champions had a host of chances in the first-half and no doubt would count themselves unlucky not to be in the lead. Pastore headed home a Kurzawa set-piece in the 14th minute but the linesman deemed it to be offside. Replays showed differently and it seemed as if the Argentine had timed his run perfectly to be on.
Lavezzi and Lucas both had the ball in the back of the net but both could hardly complain as these two offside decisions were conclusive.
The hosts though could have been in front themselves just before the interval. Kurzawa got caught under the ball whilst jumping for a header and was dispossessed by Nicolas de Preville who clipped the outside of the post.
If that was a let off for Les Parisiens than it was nothing compared to what Zlatan Ibrahimovic did for the home team. With the goal at his mercy after Johny Placide parried away a Marco Verratti shot on the hour mark, the big Swede put his diving header wide. The veteran though after the game said he felt better than he did against Malmo but was of course disappointed not to score. When asked by a journalist that the fans are worried that they are not seeing the best ‘Ibrahimovic’ he replied with a wry smile; “I’m here”. It will come as he said but we are still awaiting a first Ibra goal in Parisian colours this season.
When SDR netted in the 82nd minute it looked as if PSG’s 15 game unbeaten run in Ligue 1 was coming to an end. Kurzawa had problems with De Preville again who won the ball and pulled it back for substitute Theoson Siebatcheu to put into an empty net with Kevin Trapp all at sea.
Thankfully we were back on level terms instantly. Pastore produced a diligent flick over the top of the defence that was finished emphatically on the volley by Cavani who came on for Lucas in the 65 minute. That is now five league goals for ‘El Matador’ who leads the goalscoring charts. And six goals in his last four games (all competitions). He is on fire at the moment!
The result means we lead at the top by just a point ahead of second placed Rennes who have 13 points along with Saint-Etienne. The games are coming thick and fast now with Guingamp making the trip to the Parc des Princes on Tuesday night.