Pastore gets PSG back on track
By S. Willis
Javier Pastore's lone strike was enough to secure PSG a 1-0 win over a tenacious Slovan Bratislava side at the Parc des Princes and reassert the capital club's claim on a qualifying spot for the knockout rounds of the Europa League.
Thursday, November 3, 2011
UEFA Europa League group stage
Paris Saint-Germain 1 - 0 SK Slovan Bratislava
The win was a crucial one for Antoine Kombouaré's men, whose hopes of making the knockout rounds had come into question as they headed into the game in third place in Group F.
PSG had a star turn from an otherwise quiet Pastore - who volleyed splendidly home in the 63rd minute - to thank for putting them back in second place, three points ahead of Red Bull Salzburg, who fell 1-0 to group favourites Bilbao in the group's other game, with two matches left to play.
Pastore saves the day
Not only was Pastore's strike technically outstanding, but it came at a time when PSG's multi-million-Euro attack was struggling to find a way past the obstinate - and packed - Slovan Bratislava defence that had kept them scoreless two weeks ago in the Slovakian capital.
After having a Diego Lugano header ruled out for an agonisingly close off-side call (23'), PSG continued to threaten through Jérémy Ménez, who drew a strong save from the excellent Lukas Hrosso, whose heroics also deterred Jean-Christophe Bahebeck (79', 85') as well as Mevlut Erding.
But there was nothing the Slovakian 'keeper could do when Argentine superstar Pastore, served on a platter at the far post by Nene, produced a stunning volley to nutmeg the visiting glovesman and secure the crucial win.
Now three points clear of Salzburg and in second place in the group, PSG can take a huge step towards securing second place in their group when they face their direct rivals in Austria on Matchday 5.