Nene drives Paris to six of the best
By A. Scott
Nene was the inspiration as league leaders Paris Saint-Germain came from behind to beat Caen 4-2 and record their sixth straight league win.
Paris Saint-Germain 4-2 SM Caen
The capital club were looking to bounce back from their midweek Coupe de la Ligue exit in Dijon, but they got off to a bad start at a sold-out Parc des Princes. Having bossed the early proceedings, they fell behind in the 12th minute when Thomas Heurtaux was left completely unmarked to head home a Frédéric Bulot corner.
However, the hosts tried to hit back straight away, with Nenê playing in Kévin Gameiro, who lifted the ball over the advancing Aléxis Thébaux only to see his effort come back off the woodwork. Moments later, Nenê drove into the penalty area, and after turning away from Grégory Leca, he looked set to pull the trigger only for Benjamin Nivet to chop him down.
Referee Clément Turpin had no hesitation in showing the experienced Nivet a straight red card, before Nenê got up, dusted himself down, and sent Thébaux the wrong way from the spot.
Ten men on top
Having got their noses in front, Caen were now pegged back and would have to play the remaining three-quarters of the game with only ten men. The outlook appeared bleak for the Normandy side, but coach Franck Dumas withdrew second striker Kandia Traoré and threw on the more defensively-minded Grégory Proment. Caen lined up in a 4-4-1, and completely took the sting out of the home side.
There were still chances for PSG, with Thébaux saving from Nenê after good work from Jérémy Ménez and the Caen ‘keeper then denying Gameiro following another Ménz assist. However,Caen went from having just 44 percent possession before the sending-off, to 53 percent with ten men. They appeared comfortable, and could even have retaken the lead, with Salvatore Sirigu saving from Pierre-Alain Frau after a fine run forward from Heurtaux. Frau – a former PSG striker – then saw another shot come crashing off the bar right on half-time.
Antoine Kombouaré’s men knew that a big improvement was needed after the restart, and they immediately showed greater urgency. Javier Pastore found Ménez, who shot over, and Thébaux saved from Gameiro before Ménez finally put the hosts ahead for the first time on the night.
When Leca tried to shepherd the ball behind for a goal-kick under pressure from Gameiro, the Caen defence hesitated, thinking the ball had indeed crossed the line. But the former Lorient man had got there in time, and he cut the ball back for Ménez to score his second league goal of the season.
Caendid show some signs of life as Nicolas Seube forced a save from Sirigu following slack play from Mohamed Sissoko, but Paris finally earned some breathing space when Seube was penalised for a shove on Gameiro inside the area and Nenê blasted his second penalty of the evening high into the net. It was the Brazilian’s fourth goal in two league games.
Nenê then hit the post direct from a corner and Sissoko saw a shot from range deflected on to the bar as PSG threatened to run riot, but instead Caen reduced the arrears when Jerry Vandam, the on-loan Lille right-back, beat Sirigu to a Bulot corner to head in.
600 top flight wins
Pastore put the game beyond the visitors’ reach with a minute to go though, caressing a shot past Thébaux with the outside of his right boot to make it 4-2. The Argentine had not had one of his best nights, but still crowned his club’s 600th top-flight win with his sixth Ligue 1 goal. Kombouaré's men have not now lost since the opening day of the season and remain three points clear of Montpellier at the top.