Paris topple ten-man Lyon for Trophée glory
Paris Saint-Germain claimed their third consecutive Trophée des Champions on Saturday night as goals from Serge Aurier (11') and Edinson Cavani (17') completed a dominant 2-0 win over ten-man Olympique Lyonnais.
Saturday, August 1, 2015
Trophée des Champions
Saputo Stadium, Montreal, Canada
Paris Saint-Germain 2 - 0 Olympique Lyonnais
Reigning champions Paris Saint-Germain were firm favourites heading into the season curtain-raiser against Lyon in Montreal on Saturday night, and the capital club proved that their appetite for titles is not sated as they hit their opponents with a quick-fire one-two early in the first half to clinch a third-straight - and fifth in total - Trophée des Champions win.
Lyon had suffered some set-backs in the pre-season, notably a 6-0 hiding at the hands of Arsenal and key injury relapses for Clément Grenier and Gueïda Fofana, and Laurent Blanc's PSG made sure they stayed on the back foot as man of the match contender Serge Aurier hit the crucial first blow in the 11th minute.
Aurier on fire
Lucas Moura's long-range free kick put pressure on the OL defence and the resulting poor clearance fell for David Luiz, and the power of the Brazil star's cut-back cross was matched perfectly by the reflexes of ubiquitous Ivorian defender Aurier, who headed home from point-blank rang, leaving Anthony Lopes no chance (11').
Before Lyon had really had a chance to shake the goal off, PSG hit again and Aurier was once again involved, sending in a sweet early ball from the right as Ibrahimovic raced into the area. The giant Swede's shot from a tight angle was not too much of a problem for Lopes, but his parry fell neatly for Cavani, whose thunderous volley smashed in under the bar for a resounding 2-0 lead (17'). Incredibly, it was the Uruguayan's 11th goal in his last eight official matches.
Young striker Yassine Benzia's wayward effort just after the half-hour mark was OL's first real chance of the match (33'), but Paris kept pushing. Had Adrien Rabiot, handed a rare start for the gala match, been able to squeeze his angled shot inside the post (35'), or had Blaise Matuidi not skied his follow-up after Lopes had parried Ibrahimovic's audacious near-post back-heel (43'), the capital club could have been further ahead.
PSG cruise through
While there were no further goals in the second half, the outrageous skills of Ibrahimovic and the calm possession play of Blanc's men kept the crowd entertained and Lyon at bay, and frustration boiled over for OL captain Maxime Gonalons, whose late challenge on Ibrahimovic earned him a second yellow card and his marching orders (64').
A man down, Lyon struggled to find the solutions in midfield to put any real pressure on Paris - even when new PSG signing Benjamin Stambouli came on for Marco Verratti (70') - and it was mainly thanks to Lopes' continued focus and strong saves from Ibrahimovic (85') and Rabiot (90'+1) that the scoreline was no wider when the final whistle blew.
Ligue 1 calling
Paris Saint-Germain now turn their attentions to Friday's night's Ligue 1 season opener away to LOSC Lille, while Hubert Fournier and his Lyon side will be looking to put their pre-season results behind them and hit the ground running as they host FC Lorient on Sunday.