Super-sub Amara gives PSG crucial win
Many PSG fans suggested Wednesday's catch-up Ligue 1 game against Strasbourg was just as important to their relegation-haunted team as the League Cup final - and sub Amara Diané's goal gave them a precious win.
Wednesday 2 April 2008
Ligue 1 Orange, Matchday 31
Having slipped into the bottom three, and facing a team equally determined to get out of trouble, PSG knew there was little scope for error, and the longer the game went without a goal, the more the tension grew.
Iconic skipper Pauleta, one of the heroes against Lens, thought he had broken the ice when he netted after 16 minutes, but the goal was struck off for offside.
PSG enjoyed most of the play, and both Pauleta and Zoumana Camara had goalbound efforts cleared off the line before half-time. Key playmaker Jerome Rothen, lively as ever down the left, set up both of those chances and also provided the set-up from which Clement Chantome sent his header a fraction wide just before the break.
It was not all one-way traffic however and at the other end Michael Landreau had to be at his best to keep out Strasbourg's best efforts from Pascal Johansen and Kevin Gameiro.
Ater the break the tension began getting to the players, and a late challenge by Pauleta on Strasbourg keeper Stephane Cassard proved a flashpoint, with both sides joining in a "handbags" push and shove episode.
With only 55 minutes gone, PSG coach Paul Le Guen tried a tactical change, bringing on Bernard Mendy for Chantome, and Diané for Peguy Luyindula.
It was to prove a master stroke. With 73 minutes gone, Mendy created space for a run down the right and cut back a perfect lay-off for Diané who swept it in from ten yards.
Even then PSG nearly blew two points, Landreau having to save desperately with his feet from Eric Mouloungui in the closing moments.
However, Le Guen's men hung on for a win which at least lifts them out of the bottom three and level on points with Strasbourg.