Thursday, 28 February 2013

PSG 2-0 Olympique Marseille: Zlatan nose best

While not quite matching Sunday's league game in terms of quality or intensity, last night's encounter between Paris Saint-Germain and Marseille certainly had plenty of comedy value.

The most amusing moment was probably Joey Barton's attempt to troll Zlatan Ibrahimovic by saying, and I quote, "fucking big nose". Barton also did some gestures in case Ibra, who speaks about a million languages fluently, was in any doubt about what he meant. What a renaissance man Joey is.

As I pointed out on Twitter, Ibra has more talent in his nose than Barton has in his entire body, and the nose is probably less offensive. He proved this by scoring twice as PSG booked a Coupe-de-France quarter-final date with Evian.

“We played very well, perhaps better than we did on Sunday," said Carletto afterwards. "We controlled the match well and were very solid. We played some great football. Things are going well at the moment.

"I’m very happy for all the players because they all showed that they are in good shape, even those that haven’t played much recently.”

It's fair to say that we were a lot more dominant than in Sunday's encounter, but I would venture this had more to do with Marseille's performance dipping than ours improving. Indeed it was a match which showed up the limitations of Les Phoceens' squad compared to ours; Marseille were unchanged while PSG were able to bring in eight pairs of fresh legs, and there's no doubt this must have been a factor given OM's high-energy performance in the last match.

Chances came and went for the skipper-for-the-night, Jeremy "what attitude problem?" Menez, and Kevin Gameiro, before big Zlats gave us the lead in the 35th minute. A lovely pass over the top - some might call it Beckham-esque, but not me - from Clement Chantome released the striker, who brushed off a weak challenge from Lucas Menes and slotted the ball under Mandanda, who got a touch but couldn't stop the shot bobbling into the net.

OM's efforts on goal were mainly restricted to shots from distance, and Andre-Pierre Gignac brought a good low save from Nicolas Douchez just after the restart. Big Mac was also in the right place at the other end to block Sakho's goal-bound header on the line after a delicious corner from David Beckham.

Ahh yes, Beckham was making his full debut, and did pretty well in the deep-lying quarter-back role. It should be said he was given acres of space to operate in by the Marseille midfield, but he did what he did well, and the stats show he completed the most passes for PSG last night - 59 - with an impressive accuracy of 86 per cent.

It was DBeck's pass that released Zlatan down the right channel in the 63rd minute. The Swede left Jeremy Morel on his backside down near the touchline and was about to skip away from the defender when he was brought down by a flailing leg. A completely stupid and pointless tackle from Morel, one which was only ever going to end badly for OM. The referee pointed to the penalty spot and Zlatan did the honours, sending Mandanda the wrong way.

PSG will go away to Evian in the quarter-finals, the match will be played on April 16/17. In unrelated Zlatan news, the striker has been given a two-game Champions League ban by UEFA after his sending off in Valencia. He will now miss the second leg and the first leg of the quarter-final, should PSG progress that is.

Man of the Match: Zlatan Ibrahimovic - His best performance since the winter break, in your face Barton.


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