Tue, Aug 28, 2012 - Page 18 News List

LIGUE 1: PSG, Montpellier still awaiting first Ligue 1 victories


Olympique de Marseille’s Andre-Pierre Gignac celebrates scoring against Montpellier Herault in their Ligue 1 match at the Stade de la Mosson in Montpellier, France, on Sunday.

Photo: AFP

Last season’s Ligue 1 top two, Montpellier Herault and Paris Saint-Germain, are still awaiting their first wins this term after adverse results on Sunday left both teams in the bottom half of the table.

Montpellier dropped into the relegation places following a 1-0 loss at home to Olympique de Marseille, who went top, while big-spending PSG were 12th — already six points off the pace — after being held to a 0-0 draw by Girondins de Bordeaux.

PSG coach Carlo Ancelotti made three changes to his starting 11 at the Parc des Princes, but still his expensively assembled side looked worryingly bereft of ideas as they recorded their third consecutive draw.

“We’re not happy with the results,” said Ancelotti, whose club spent more than 130 million euros (US$163 million) on new players in the close-season. “We have the quality to win, but we need to improve our work. It’s just a technical and tactical problem, it’s not a question of pressure. The start of the season has not been good. At the moment, we’re not playing good football. We play without speed, far from the goal, and all the players have problems.”

Star signing Zlatan Ibrahimovic made his return from injury, but the biggest surprise in the PSG starting lineup was the presence of 17-year-old debutant Adrien Rabiot in midfield.

PSG largely controlled the first half, but had little to show for their efforts, with long-range shots from Javier Pastore and Nene that were comfortably saved by Cedric Carrasso being the best they could muster.

Ibrahimovic thrashed a rasping free-kick narrowly wide early in the second half, before curling just wide with his left foot in the 73rd minute, but despite a lively cameo from substitute Jeremy Menez, the goal would not come.

Bordeaux had been seeking a ninth consecutive win in Ligue 1, but the point was enough to keep them in the top four.

The resurgent Andre-Pierre Gignac was Montpellier’s scourge at the Stade de la Mosson earlier in the day, claiming the game’s only goal 13 minutes from time to give Marseille their third victory in a row.

A loose pass from Daniel Congre presented the ball to Morgan Amalfitano and he found Gignac, who turned inside Vitorino Hilton and threaded a low shot between goalkeeper Geoffrey Jourdren and his near post.

Champions for the first time in their history last season, Montpellier have picked up just one point from their first three games and they found themselves in the bottom three alongside Sochaux-Montbeliard and promoted ES Troyes AC.

“There’s a lack of understanding compared with last season, which can be explained by all the changes to the team,” Montpellier coach Rene Girard said. “Today, we didn’t make the right choices and we made stupid mistakes when we shouldn’t have.”

After three matches, Marseille lead the standings by two points.

“We have nine points, which is a good thing, but it’s only three matches, so everything is provisional,” Marseille coach Elie Baup said. “We’ll have to see where we are after 10 matches. That’s when we can evaluate our potential.”

AS Saint-Etienne blew off the cobwebs in the other afternoon fixture, crushing Stade Brestois 29 4-0 at Stade Geoffroy-Guichard to register their first points of the campaign.

Gabonese forward Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang claimed a brace of goals, one in each half book-ending strikes from new signing Romain Hamouma and Josuha Guilavogui.

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