Late Chafni cracker downs PSG
Kamel Chafni produced a sumptuous strike four minutes from time to give Auxerre a first win in 13 Ligue 1 matches as they dented Paris Saint-Germain's title hopes with a 1-0 win on Saturday.
AUXERRE 1-0 PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN
PSG had threatened on several occasions only to come up against Auxerre goalkeeper Olivier Sorin in excellent form, allowing Chafni to claim all three points with a rasping half-volley and lift Jean Fernandez's men into 16th place, three points clear of the relegation zone, and deny the visitors the opportunity to go second in the table.
Auxerre finished third last season, and showed some of the football that got them there in an impressive opening. Benoît Pedretti should have at least hit the target rather than fire wide when well-placed before Apoula Edel produced a fantastic reflex stop to deny Anthony Le Tallec from point-blank range.
PSG, though, clearly sensed an opportunity to give their title hopes a boost, and Nene should have put them in front. The Brazilian, who has yet to add to this season's tally of 13 goals in 2011, fired disappointingly over though.
The visitors had been beaten 3-2 by Auxerre at the Parc des Princes earlier in the season, and appeared hell-bent on making amends as they pressed incessantly. After a neat one-two on the edge of the box with Ludovic Giuly, Peguy Luyindula fired a low drive that Sorin brilliantly finger-tipped to safety. The Auxerre goalkeeper was called into action again when Claude Makelele teed up Christophe Jallet from distance - the ex-Lorient defender's vicious strike bringing another flying stop.
The visitors' momentum was not halted by the break, and only last-ditch blocks in quick succession from Adama Coulibaly and Cédric Hengbart prevented Luyindula and Giuly testing Sorin once again.
The Auxerre number one was left rooted to the spot shortly afterwards when Luyindula connected cleanly with a Nene corner - the post, however, came to Auxerre's rescue. Giuly then stabbed narrowly wide of the target as PSG did everything but break the deadlock.
Auxerre's success last season was founded on their solid defence, and they eventually got the number of the visitors with Stéphane Grichting, back in the side after a lay-off due to a fractured finger, adding stability alongside the physically imposing Coulibaly.
Both sides appeared to have settled for a draw when Chafni struck. Siaka Tiéné's miscued clearance fell invitingly for the Auxerre midfielder, who dispatched a superb dipping shot over Edel and into the far corner to allow the Burgundy club and their fans to taste victory for the first time in 17 competitive fixtures.