Monday, 17 October 2011

AC Ajaccio 1-3 PSG - Gameiro goals gaul-ling for Corsicans

Whenever I think of Corsica I think of weird little Mediterranean people eating wild boar, which in turn makes me think of Asterix the Gaul.

So I was a little disappointed to tune in to yesterday’s match at the Stade Francois Coty and discover that none of the Ajaccio supporters – or indeed players – resembled Asterix, Obelix, Getafix, or any other members of the gang.

In fact the only man who might have looked at home in an Goscinny and Uderzo comic strip was Kevin Gameiro, who appeared to have been supping on some magic potion before the game. The striker notched a hat-trick as PSG claimed a victory which takes them three points clear at the top of the table.

AK had to shuffle his expensively assembled pack, with Lugano, Menez, and Matuidi suspended and Mamadou Sakho, Christophe Jallet and Momo Sissoko taking their places. Jallet made a good impact on the right of midfield, showing good energy and, as you would expect, doing a lot more tracking back than you’d get from Menez. The other two weren’t quite so assured, with a Sakho and centre back partner Zoumana Camara enduring a few nervous moments, and Sissoko once again showing that, for a defensive midfielder, he’s pretty rubbish at tackling. While I can afford him some leeway given that he’s been out injured for a while, for me he’s still by far the least impressive of the summer signings.

PSG had the lift of an early goal, Ajaccio failing to deal with a corner from the right, and Armand’s flick falling perfectly to the unmarked Gameiro, who swept the ball home at the back post.

If anyone thought this might be the cue for the league leaders to light up the cigars and stroll to a comfortable win against struggling opposition, a) they haven’t watched PSG this season, and b) they were in for a rude awakening. Although Jallet saw a shot cleared off the line, and Nene drew a good save from Guillermo Ochoa, Ajaccio levelled when poor defending from a free kick allowed Carl Medjani time and space to control the ball inside the box and slot home. Merde.

Javier Pastore had to this point been a peripheral figure, but El Flaco showed his class with a lovely defence-splitter that put Gameiro in the clear, only for his angled shot to be saved at full stretch by Ochoa.

Prior to that the ex-Lorient forward had blazed a shot over the crossbar after Clement Chantome’s drive had rebounded off the keeper into his path. He was not in such profligate mood after half-time however, and put PSG back in front with another poachers effort five minutes after the restart. Jallet’s high cross looped over to the back post, where Sissoko nodded the ball back across and Gameiro swivelled to score from inside the six yard box.

Two minutes later he was at it again, this time Jallet and Chantome combined to present him with a simple chance to complete his hat-trick and take his tally for the season to eight.

So yeah, PSG were far from their fluent best, but did enough to win and despite a few wobbles created a lot more in the final third than the hosts, which is kind of what you would expect given the two clubs respective resources. The best thing to come out of the match for me was that Pastore wasn’t directly involved in any of the three goals, we need to be able to grind out victories even when he’s having an off-day, otherwise the “one-man team” tag is going to stick.

Man of the Match: Kevin Gameiro – the archetypal renard dans la boîte


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