PSG back to winning ways
Paris Saint-Germain rediscovered their goalscoring touch and returned to winning ways on Sunday, beating Auxerre 3-2 after a thrilling second half at the Parc des Princes.
After a goalless first-half, the hosts took the lead when Christophe Jallet fired home on 52 minutes. Dennis Oliech levelled soon after but Jérémy Ménez restored PSG's advantage and Nenê made sure of the points from the penalty spot, although Dariusz Dudka did pull a second goal back for Auxerre from a free-kick late on. The points take the capital club back above Lille into second place on 33 points, three behind leaders Montpellier, while Auxerre are just two places and a single point clear of the relegation zone.
PSG were in desperate need of a positive result after a miserable recent run of form which had seen them take just one point from three league matches and then suffer a damaging defeat at the hands of Red Bull Salzburg in the Europa League on Thursday. Montpellier's win over Lorient on Saturday had left Antoine Kombouaré's side six points adrift of the top spot that had at one point looked like their's to keep, and the coach himself knew that any more slip-ups might cost him his job.
However, Auxerre appeared to be the perfect opponents for the capital club, having lost six of their last seven matches in all competitions, a run that had seen them drop down towards the relegation zone, making a mockery of early-season noises from Burgundy that a top-three finish was the aim.
The match also saw Auxerre coach Laurent Fournier return to face the club he represented with such distinction as a player and coached for a spell in 2005. Auxerre emerged winners in a five-goal thriller in last season's corresponding fixture, but there was little for the crowd to get excited about in a drab first-half played in the soaking conditions that have been prevalent across France on this first weekend in December.
Camara handed start
After making wholesale changes to his side in Salzburg, Kombouaré sent out a more familiar-looking line-up here, with Javier Pastore restored to the team, and Zoumana Camara chosen to partner Mamadou Sakho in the heart of the back four.
Paris shouts for a penalty after a Nenê free-kick crashed against the arm of Jérémy Berthod were waved away by referee Wilfried Bien, while Auxerre threatened only briefly, with Alain Traoré's strike from distance being beaten away by Salvatore Sirigu.
Sigh of relief
The game only really sprung into life after the restart, with PSG missing two glorious chances to take the lead when Pastore was denied from six yards by 'keeper Olivier Sorin and then Nenê hit the post from close range after a superb incision from the right by Ménez. But soon after Nenê and Kévin Gameiro combined to find Ménez, who set up Jallet to lash home the opener from the edge of the area.
The Parc des Princes breathed a collective sigh of relief, but Auxerre were back level before the hour mark thanks to Kenyan star Oliech, who cut in from the right and saw his initial shot parried by Sirigu before converting the rebound.
2000 top-flight goals
PSG have struggled to score goals in recent weeks, but things came together here as they ground out the three points thanks to two goals in the space of five late minutes. First, Nenê crossed from the left to the back post for former Roma man Ménez to net Paris' 2000th top-flight goal, and then Nenê got a deserved goal of his own, scoring from the penalty spot after being brought down inside the box by Cédric Hengbart.
A foul by Camara on Oliech just outside the box allowed Pole Dudka to make it 3-2 with a brilliant strike of the dead ball, but there was to be no nasty late surprise for the home side, and their coach Kombouaré lives to fight another day.