Monday, 21 January 2013

Bordeaux 0-1 PSG: Girondins Zlatan-ised as Parisiens regain top spot

It's been a difficult week at Paris Saint-Germain following the death of fitness coach Nick Broad in a car accident on Thursday.

I always find it extremely trite when people say that incidents like this "put football into perspective"; it surely doesn't require a death to highlight the importance of sport in the grand scheme of things. But what is certainly true is that this is a tragic event for Nick's family and friends, may he rest in peace.

Carletto, assistant coach Paul Clement, and the players were visibly shaken before the match with Bordeaux, with a minute's silence held in the Stade Delmas. But they pulled themselves together and claimed the three points which took them back to the top of the Ligue 1 table.

PSG were a bit understrength for the match, with central defenders Thiago Silva and Alex missing through injury. This meant a first league start of the season for Papus Camara alongside Sakho, and the veteran did not let his team down, making a number of crucial interceptions to stop crosses, and one great sliding challenge in the second half when Bordeaux's Yoan Gouffran was about to pull the trigger.

In fact it was the defence that stood out in a first half dominated by Bordeaux. Their chief threat came down the left through enterprising full back Benoit Tremoulinas, who spent the first 30 minutes tormenting Christophe Jallet and whipping in a number of dangerous crosses. But as usual with Francis Gillot's side, a lack of cutting edge let them down, with no one on hand to profit from Tremoulinas's good work.

Going forward PSG were having difficulty stringing more than a couple of passes together, and our attacking play lacked the pace and intensity you would expect from a front line including the dynamic talents of Lavezzi, Menez and Lucas Moura. Cedric Carrasso did well to stop a free kick from Zlatan Ibrahimovic, and his opposite number Salvatore Sirigu had to be on his mettle to parry away a shot from FCGB's Obraniak.

The only goal of the game came two minutes before the break courtesy of Lucas, who was given the time and space to play the ball into Zlatan in the box. The striker's angled shot was powerful enough, but Carrasso will be disappointed that it squirmed through his body into the net.

After half-time Ancelotti's men were a different proposition, enjoying much more possession and restricting Bordeaux to speculative efforts from distance. A shot from Mariano was deflected past the post, and Sirigu had to tip a Saviet effort over the bar, but other than that it was the visitors who looked more likely to add a second. The best opportunity fell to the outstanding Maxwell, who benefited from a lucky bounce in the area but saw his attempt to beat Carrasso at the near post palmed away by the keeper.

Overall it wasn't a vintage performance from PSG, but we should be happy to come away with three points against opponents who had been defending an unbeaten Ligue 1 home record stretching back to the start of the season.

"I am happy the team got a victory and first place in the championship for Nick," said Sakho afterwards. 

"This is, I think, the best tribute we could give him, to thank him for all the work he has done for the team. It was really difficult to play tonight, we've been thinking about his family a lot."

Man of the Match: Maxwell - diligent in defence, and offered good attacking threat in the second half. 


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