Bisevac strikes as Paris sink Brest
By A. Scott
Milan Bisevac left with the match ball after scoring the only goal of the game as Paris Saint-Germain beat Brest to stay three points clear at the top of the Ligue 1 table.
Serbian defender Bisevac netted after just six minutes at the Stade Francis-Le Blé, and for all Brest's dogged determination, they were unable to find an equaliser. Indeed, PSG should have won the game by a greater margin with Nenê in particular guilty of some poor finishing. However, the capital club's coach Carlo Ancelotti will not be complaining as he made it four wins out of four since taking over during the winter break, and PSG maintained their three-point gap down to second-placed Montpellier. Brest, meanwhile, saw their unbeaten home record this season finally brought to an end.
PSG travelled to France’s westernmost point on the back of a five-game unbeaten league run and a run of eight matches without losing in all competitions, but this promised to be a tough test for the side from the capital. Ancelotti was without the injured Javier Pastore and was also hit by the late withdrawal of Jérémy Menez. That meant a start for Christophe Jallet in an unusually advanced role and a first appearance in almost two months for the fit-again Blaise Matuidi.
Brest were defending a ten-match unbeaten home record stretching back to the last day of last season, but the Bretons are still recovering from the sale of talisman Nolan Roux to Lille, and coach Alex Dupont also had a lengthy injury list to contend with. Alexandre Alphonse – signed during the week from FC Zürich – was handed his debut up front, but he was a mere spectator as Brest endured a miserable start to the game.
Bisevac opens account, Zebina forced off
Nenê was denied by home goalkeeper Steeve Elana, and from the resulting corner PSG took the lead. Jallet’s ball in from the left ricocheted off Bisevac and into the net, with Bruno Grougi unable to prevent it from crossing the line. It was an ugly goal, but Bisevac will not mind as he netted for the first time since moving to the club from Valenciennes last summer. It was also a goal that Brest will feel could have been avoided had Jonathan Zebina not been off the field receiving treatment at the time.
The veteran centre-back was forced off injured moments later, with his place being taken by Brahim Ferradj, who was making his first appearance of the season. And PSG kept the pressure on, almost making it two when Nenê played in Kévin Gameiro, whose shot was saved by Elana.
But the hosts came back into the game, to the extent that they were unlucky not to go in at the interval on level terms. Mario Licka saw a shot from just outside the box turned behind by Salvatore Sirigu, while the eager-to-impress Alphonse came close on two separate occasions.
Bar denies Bodmer
At the other end, a Nenê free-kick was volleyed against the crossbar by the excellent Mathieu Bodmer, as Paris were also forced into a first-half change. Mohamed Sissoko never recovered from a collision with teammate Diego Lugano and made way for Clément Chantôme.
The second period was disappointing when compared with the lively first 45 minutes. PSG dominated proceedings, but profligate finishing from Bodmer and, in particular, Nenê meant that Brest were never killed off. Indeed, with a better final ball Dupont’s side might even have snatched a point, but the closest they came to doing so was when a Grougi free-kick was headed over by Paul Baysse, with Santiago Gentiletti lurking unmarked behind.
Brest remain in the relative comfort of 11th spot, but their lack of spark in attack in the second half was a reminder of how tough life will be without Roux. PSG, meanwhile ended a run of six league trips to Brittany without a win and continue on their march towards what they hope will be a third Ligue 1 title in the spring.