Sunday, 23 September 2012

Bastia 0-4 PSG: Four-midable PSG march on

"Match after match, it's getting better and better," noted Zlatan Ibrahimovic after Paris Saint-Germain's 4-0 victory over Bastia yesterday.

Amen Zlatan. Certainly this has been a productive week for PSG, who hit four goals for the second match in succession to comfortably dispatch a spirited but limited Bastia outfit.

Performance-wise it was more solid than spectacular - Sergio Busquets compared to Tuesday night's Leo Messi - but the way we ruthlessly ran in four goals was, say it quietly, the stuff of potential Champions.

Ancelotti chose to rotate his defenders, with Thiago Silva the only member of the back four to survive from the Champions League victory over Kiev. In came fit-again Mamadou Sakho, debutant Gregory van der Wiel, and Sylvain Armand for his first start of the season. I must confess I was a bit concerned when I saw quite so many changes - after all this has been our downfall in the past - but I needn't have worried.

Bastia made a snappy start, but were undone in the fifth minute when they gifted PSG a goal that was softer than a kitten in a sack of feathers. Their defence decided not to bother marking Ibra as a free kick was launched in from the left flank, and he was able to guide the ball across to Jeremy Menez, who notched his first goal of the season with a simple finish.

The home side responded well, and Salvatore Sirigu had to be alert to parry a strike from Khazri around the post, but at the other the end you got the feeling that every time PSG came forward there could be goals.

Blaise Matuidi volleyed over after another knock-down from Ibrahimovic, before the big man decided to show him how it's done just before half-time. Marco Verratti scooped a pass over the defence, and Ibra timed his run to perfection to and produced a cute first time finish to beat Novaes in the home goal.

In between goals, referee Said Ennjimi was keeping things interesting with a haphazard approach to card awarding. He booked Sakho and Bastia's Cuhazac after an innocuous-looking clash, and risked the wrath of Zlatan by showing the striker a yellow card for what appeared to be a fair tackle. In the second half he enraged the home fans (and players) by failing to send off Van der Wiel, who lunged in on Jerome Rothen and was very fortunate to get away with just a booking. Another week, another incompetent referee, plus ca change...

Anyway, Choplin was denied by a great save from Sirigu as Bastia pushed for a goal their efforts probably merited, but PSG took the game beyond their reach with 18 minutes to go. Ibra fed Nene, and he slipped a pass through to Matuidi, who checked his run to stay onside, then drew the keeper before finishing expertly. Bastia Blaise-d, game over.

Still there was time for Sirigu to produce another wonder-save, denying substitute Tofilou Maoulida when the substitute looked certain to score from six-yards, before Ibrahimovic wrapped up the scoring with his seventh goal in five league games. Nene again provided the pass which split the home defence, and Zlatan was never likely to miss as he slipped the ball past the exposed Novaes.

"We're doing well now; we're one a roll with four wins on the trot after going through a tough time," said Carletto afterwards. "We need to keep working hard, but these wins are great for our confidence."

Certainly PSG are looking formidable at the moment, and they will fancy their chances again next Saturday when they welcome lowly Sochaux to the Parc-des-Princes.

Man of the Match: Zlatan Ibrahimovic - the machine à marquer shows no signs of slowing down, scored two and had a hand, er, foot in the others.


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