Thursday, 26 September 2013

Valenciennes 0-1 PSG: Cavani's impeccable timing saves sluggish Paris

Paris Saint-Germain’s commercial department have been busy recently securing a range of new sponsorship deals.

Not content with having signed up Qatari telecoms firm Ooredoo (yes, they’re really called Ooredoo) and Nivea for Men in recent weeks, the club has now added Hublot as, wait for it, Official Timekeeper and Official Watch of PSG. What an honour for them.

“Paris is the European capital for good taste, elegance and luxury,” said Hublot’s CEO Jean-Claude Biver.

“Paris is the world tourism capital. And thanks to Paris Saint-Germain, Paris is the capital of European football. Hublot could afford to not be associated with this club and it is a privilege for Hublot to keep time for the future glorious hours of Paris Saint-Germain!"

Whether this sponsorship deal had anything to do with President Nasser buying a job lot of Hublots to give to the players is not mentioned in the press release.

Hopefully none of the Swiss firm’s representatives were watching yesterday’s match against Valenciennes, as it had little to do with elegance or luxury. Good taste was also in short supply due to Christophe Jallet’s continuing insistence of wearing his socks pulled up over his knees.

But PSG got the job done, winning 1-0 courtesy of Edinson Cavani’s goal on the stroke of half-time. Zlatan was the provider, poking the ball through for El Matador, who produced a super finish, holding off a defender whipping the ball past the goalkeeper and into the net.

It was “A PSG without ideas” noted France Football, and indeed the team struggled to create opportunities. Javier Pastore shot over when well placed in the first minute, and Ibra had a couple of half chances near the end which he couldn’t take, but other than that our attacking cupboard was distinctly bare.

Valenciennes saw a lot of the ball, but as often happens to teams at the bottom of the league table, weren’t able to do much with it. Their best chances came in the second half, with the excellent Marco Verratti heading a Lindsay Rose effort off the line, and substitute Anthony Le Tallec somehow failing to connect with a Dossevi cross late on.

So much for Laurent Blanc to ponder then, particularly the performance of the recalled Pastore, who failed to impress in a central role: "In an 'easy' away game, the playmaker was mired in bad choices and failed actions" was the damning verdict in Le Parisien this morning. Ho hum.

But we're in the middle of a difficult run of games, and the boss was happy to take the points and move on to Saturday's home fixture with Toulouse.

"It was painful at times, both on the pitch and off, because we had some problems with injuries,” said Blanc, who lost Alex at half-time to injury. “It was a difficult match in every sense, but the essential thing was to get the three points because we will have a lot of games like this over the course of the campaign.

“We knew this would be a difficult match. We started well but didn't get the goal, and you need to score when you are on top in football.

“This was one of these games where nothing went right for us but we still fought to come away with the essential thing, the result. The Monaco match cost us a lot of energy and we only had three days to recover."


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