PSG make Nice pay the penalty
By D. Crossan
Kevin Gameiro converted the decisive penalty of three as Paris Saint-Germain beat Nice 2-1 at the Parc des Princes in a game both sides finished with ten men. PSG have now gone six unbeaten in Ligue 1.
With Lille drawing at Bordeaux and Lyon losing for the first time this season, beaten at Caen, this was a result of huge import for Antoine Kombouaré’s side and one that lifted them to 14 points in the table, level with Lyon.
PSG did it the hard way against a Nice side that had lost only once in their last six league trips to the Parc des Princes. Les Aiglons coach Eric Roy packed the midfield, handing starts to PSG old boys Didier Digard and Fabrice Abriel, and the tactics worked for the most part in the first half-hour as PSG threatened only sporadically, usually when Javier Pastore was involved.
The 42 million euro record buy forced a point-blank save from David Ospina, which the Colombian international goalkeeper did not know too much about, in the 15th minute after some nimble footwork had bought him some space. The Nice goal only just survived intact with right-back Drissa Diakité playing the ball back off his own keeper in a mix-up before Ospina grabbed hold of it on the right side of the line.
Emerse Faé, on his first Nice start since recovering from phlebitis, went close with a dipper at the other end, and Pastore was greedy when he had Gameiro unmarked, before PSG took the lead nine minutes before the break.
Tricks lead to first penalty, Nene wins argument with Gameiro
Gameiro and Pastore were involved in a move full of flicks and tricks. Nene teased the ball away from Diakité, who clipped his trailing leg to prevent the Brazilian getting a shot away. Gameiro, who had missed a couple of presentable chances in the 2-2 draw at Evian-Thonon-Gaillard on Sunday, was desperate to take it, but Nene refused to let him. Just as he had against Valenciennes in Week 3, Nene scored a penalty he’d won himself. Ospina went the right way, low to his left, but the penalty was too good.
Abriel could have levelled before half-time, while Mathieu Bodmer could have doubled the PSG lead, though he elected to square the ball when clean through.
Monzon on target again from spot
Just as Roy must have been contemplating an attacking switch in an attempt to avoid a third 1-0 away defeat in as many games this season, Christophe Jallet conceded a penalty on the hour, fouling the hard-working Eric Mouloungui by the goalline. Argentinean left-back Fabian Monzon, the scorer of two penalties in Saturday’s 3-0 home win over Ajaccio, sent Salvatore Sirigu the wrong way from the spot and the sides were level.
Entering the final 20 minutes, Pastore won another penalty for PSG after a strong, skilful run which had seen him glide away from three Nice players. Abriel went to ground and the Argentinean playmaker lifted the ball onto his raised arm. Gameiro took this one and hit it low and left, with Ospina diving the other way.
Jallet and Monzon off
Jallet had been booked for the penalty-conceding foul on Mouloungui and was sent off for a second yellow after a high challenge on Abriel twelve minutes from time. Monzon followed him off the pitch with five minutes remaining for a foul on Jérémy Ménez. Nice had not had long enough to make the man advantage count and PSG held on for a satisfying victory, given that they had not been at their best.
PSG travel to high-flying Montpellier at the weekend, while Nice host Dijon sitting precariously poised just above the relegation zone they had climbed out of with the three points against Ajaccio, their first win of the season.