Mon, Aug 08, 2011 - Page 18 News List

Big-spending PSG defeated in Paris

DAMP SQUIB:Despite spending US$120 million during the pre-season, Antoine Kombouare’s side could find no way past Lorient at a rain-swept Parc des Princes


Paris Saint-Germain’s Jean-Christophe Bahebeck, left, battles for the ball with Lorient’s Lucas Mareque in their Ligue 1 at the Parc des Princes in Paris on Saturday.

Photo: AFP

Paris Saint-Germain failed to show the fruits of their money-spinning takeover by Qatar Sports Investments this summer, falling 1-0 in their season opener at home to Lorient on Saturday.

Meanwhile, champions LOSC Lille Metropole and runners-up Olympique de Marseille both had to settle for a point, while Olympique Lyonnais won 3-1 at OGC Nice.

PSG’s new Argentine international playmaker Javier Pastore, the club’s eighth signing of the summer, was presented to the jubilant fans just before the game after completing his high-profile move from Palermo on a five-year deal, but the atmosphere at the Parc des Princes soon proved damper than the weather in the French captial when Julien Quercia put the visitors from Brittany ahead after 28 minutes.

Pastore, 22, had joined PSG in a French record 42 million euros (US$60 million) deal, bringing the transfer total to a record 84 million euros following the signing of France internationals Kevin Gameiro, Jeremy Menez and Blaise Matuidi, among eight new players.

However, Antoine Kombouare’s side could find no way past the Bretons, who achieved their fifth win in their last eight visits to the Parc des Princes.

“It takes time to build a team, but it’s the result that counts,” Kombouare said. “There are a lot of new players in the squad, they need to find their rhythm and the right physical condition. It’s a challenge, but there’s no need to panic.”

Lorient coach Christian Gourcuff rubbed salt in the wound for the Parisians.

“You can collect big names to try and make yourself favorites, but there are other values, such as team spirit, which is what the game is about,” Gourcuff said. “There was also the psychological aspect with all the media hype around PSG. That made them doubt and threw them off. It’s the classic scenario which often happens to Paris. We played with humility and as a team we had a remarkable performance.”

Newcomers Matuidi and Menez failed to impress, with the latter whistled off as he was substituted after 70 minutes, while new captain Mamadou Sakho, promoted in place of Claude Makelele, struggled to impose himself.

Only Gameiro, France’s top scorer in the previous two seasons, looked up to the task, setting up one of PSG’s best chances to score when he crossed to Nene, only for the Brazilian’s lob to go over the bar after 37 minutes.

Fourth last season, narrowly missing out on a Champions League place to Lyon, and French Cup runners-up to Lille, PSG had embarked on the campaign with serious designs on a first Ligue 1 title since 1994, but the only consolation for PSG fans was that their two leading rivals — Lille and Marseille — had to settle for draws.

Northeners Lille came away with a 1-1 draw despite dominating play at AS Nancy-Lorraine, with Mathieu Debuchy giving the visitors the lead three minutes after the break, only for defender Franck Beria to concede an own-goal after 61 minutes.

Marseille, who conceded 20 points at home last season to finish runners-up, took the lead against Sochaux-Montbeliard after 38 minutes with a superb Lucho volley, but Sochaux dominated the second half, with Marvin Martin getting the equalizer after 59 minutes and Vincent Nogueira putting the visitors ahead after 71 minutes, before a Loic Remy header gave Marseille a share of the points.

Of the “big four,” only Lyon shone on the opening day, coming away comfortable 3-1 winners from Nice to put them top of the Ligue 1 table after the first day.

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