PSG woes continue in Europe
By S. Willis
Just days after their loss in Marseille, PSG were outplayed 2-0 by Salzburg on Thursday and now must win against Bilbao - and hope that Salzburg don't beat Bratislava - if they are to book a place in the Europa League's last 16.
Thursday, December 1, 2011
UEFA Europa League Group F, Matchday 5
Red Bull Salzburg 2 - 0 Paris Saint-Germain
In the space of just one match, Paris Saint-Germain went from being on the verge of booking a place in the last 16 of the Europa League - a win or a draw against Salzburg would have seen them qualify - to being obliged to take all three points against group leaders Bilbao on the final day.
After Antoine Kombouaré's men were taught a lesson by Marseille 3-0 in the Clasico on Sunday, the PSG coach opted to rest three of his big-name players - Javier Pastore, Jérémy Ménez and Diego Lugano - but just like against Marseille, the side he fielded failed to click in attack and looked shaky in defence against a Salzburg side who had to win to keep their knockout round chances alive.
Pressure pays off
The determined Austrians threw everything they had at PSG and after 20 minutes made the break, Jakob Jantscher volleying home unmarked at the far post after Christoph Leitgeb had skinned Siaka Tiéné on the right and sent in a pin-point cross (20').
Salzburg peppered the PSG goal from distance, Leonardo (11') and Jantscher (23') pushing second-choice PSG 'keeper Nicolas Douchez to the limit while Argentine forward Gonzalo Zarate twice missed the target by millimetres from close range (30', 34').
Worrying form continues
Paris fought back towards the end of the first half, Nene (42') Zoumana Camara (43') and Christophe Jallet (44') going close to grabbing the precious equaliser that would see them qualify, but overall Kombouaré's men picked up where they left off in their league defeats to Nancy and Marseille - lacking rhythm, pace and movement - and above all, ideas - going forward.
The second half provided fewer chances for either side - two each - until the fourth minute of injury time when, after the Parisian backline failed to adequately clear a corner, Dusan Svento popped up unmarked at the far post to lash a dipping volley past Douchez to completely douse PSG's hopes in the match (90'+4).
Out of their hands
The win sees Salzburg draw even on seven points with PSG - but with a superior goal difference - and even if Kombouaré's men do beat the already qualified Bilbao at the Parc des Princes next week, they will only go through in the less-than-likely event that Salzburg fail to beat Group F whipping boys Slovan Bratislava, whose single point in the competition so far has come from their 0-0 draw with… PSG.