Menez goal seals title for PSG
By A. Scott
A second-half goal by Jérémy Menez gave Paris Saint-Germain a 1-0 win against Olympique Lyonnais on Sunday night as the capital club clinched the title at the home of one of their greatest rivals.
Olympique Lyonnais 0 - 1 Paris Saint-Germain
Menez netted eight minutes into the second half as PSG wrapped up the third title in their history with two games of the season to spare. Carlo Ancelotti's side have been pushed further than anyone expected in the closing weeks of the season as a result of Marseille's excellent form, but after slipping up at home to Valenciennes last Sunday they finally got the result required at the Stade de Gerland. Sealing the title at the home of one of the clubs who have dominated the French scene in the period since PSG last won the crown will provide extra satisfaction to those with connections to the capital side, although they will now be desperate to get back to Paris to start the real festivities.
In reality, PSG probably expected a far tougher test than they were ultimately given by a Lyon side who started well but never really looked like coming back into the game after Menez opened the scoring early in the second half. The France international winger applied a confident finish low across Lyon 'keeper Anthony Lopes after being set up by Thiago Motta's neat through ball to score the most important goal of his career to date, and PSG comfortably held on after that, keeping a record 23rd clean sheet of the season in the process.
PSG had not won at the Stade de Gerland since 2005, when Danijel Ljuboja netted the only goal in a 1-0 win. Lyon went on to win the title that season, but before that you had to go back to 1993-94 for the capital club's last triumph in this fixture. Artur Jorge's side went on to be crowned champions that year and now they have finally done it again.
The visitors were without the suspended Salvatore Sirigu, Thiago Silva and Marco Verratti and the injured Lucas Moura here, and it looked like they might be in for a long night when Yoann Gourcuff's second-minute corner found Bafétimbi Gomis, whose header was kept out of the net by a stretching Nicolas Douchez.
There was almost a goal at the other end moments later when a PSG corner fell to Zlatan Ibrahimovic, whose snap-shot was cleared off the line by Mouhamadou Dabo, and Douchez then did well to save a swerving Yassine Benzia effort as the whirlwind start to the evening continued.
When Lopes came off his line to save well from Menez after Javier Pastore had played in the PSG number seven, the first half had not even reached its midway point and it seemed like a high-scoring affair could well be on the cards. But in the end there would be nothing like the drama of the 4-4 draw between the teams here last season, as the opening half petered out to a goalless conclusion.
Plenty at stake
There was plenty riding on this game for Lyon too, with points needed to keep them on course for a top-three finish and a return to the Champions League for next season. They came out with intent at the start of the second half and Gourcuff fired inches over in the 49th minute.
However, Menez then brought a save out of Lopes before getting the breakthrough in the 53rd minute. He missed two further chances for PSG to add to their lead but, crucially, Lyon never looked capable of drawing level and Paris got the result they needed to spark huge celebrations at full-time.