Tue, Sep 04, 2012 - Page 19 News List

LIGUE 1: ‘Super Swede’ Zlatan leads PSG to victory over Lille


Lille defender Lucas Digne, right, vies with PSG’s Zlatan Ibrahimovic on Sunday at the Grand Stade in France.

Photo: AFP

Paris Saint-Germain registered their first win of the new Ligue 1 season on Sunday night as a first-half double from Zlatan Ibrahimovic helped the capital club to a 2-1 triumph at Lille.

PSG’s Qatari owners must have been getting after seeing their expensively assembled team limp to three draws in their opening three games, but their signature summer signing Ibrahimovic was the star of the show at LOSC Lille Metropole’s impressive new Grand Stade.

PSG manager Carlo Ancelotti responded to an impotent attacking display in last Sunday’s goalless home stalemate against Girondins de Bordeaux by restoring Marco Verratti and Jeremy Menez to his starting line-up, and the latter provided a fine assist for the opening goal, which arrived after just 27 seconds.

His cushioned pass allowed Ibrahimovic to slot past Lille ‘keeper Mickael Landreau from the left-hand side of the area to give the visitors a dream start.

However, Lille responded like a side whose confidence had been buoyed by their midweek win against FC Copenhagen which took them into the Champions League group stage, and they were level 11 minutes later when Aurelien Chedjou stole in front of Ibrahimovic to head home a corner.

However, the super Swede beat the outrushing Landreau to a Javier Pastore through ball and fired PSG back in front midway through the first half for his fourth goal in Ligue 1, and the capital club held on to their 2-1 lead for the remainder of a keenly contested encounter.

“We were well organized in defense, there was a good attitude, a great counter-attacking game and the fantastic skill of Ibrahimovic,” Ancelotti said. “It’s a massive win, we were victorious on a tough pitch [to win] against a strong team.”

However, PSG are six points adrift of leaders Olympique de Marseille after l’OM continued their perfect start to the campaign thanks to a 3-1 home victory against Stade Rennais at the Stade Velodrome.

New signing Joey Barton watched on as Andre-Pierre Gignac’s magnificent 84th-minute volley flew past Rennes ‘keeper Benoit Costil to put the home side 2-1 up after Julien Feret had canceled out Jeremy Morel’s first-half opener.

Rennes captain Romain Danze then turned a cross into his own net in stoppage time to seal the points for Marseille, who are two points clear of Lyon at the summit thanks to their best start to a season since 1932.

“It was a goal of great class,” Marseille coach Elie Baup said of Gignac’s crucial strike. “But the team as a whole pushed for the win. I could feel that the players were not willing to accept a 1-1 draw.”

“I have lots of confidence in the players who are in the dressing room, a group of players who have shown a desire to surpass themselves and to succeed. It’s great to see their enthusiasm and the pleasure they take from playing the game,” he said.

Earlier on Sunday, Bordeaux continued their unbeaten start, but had to settle for a point in a 1-1 draw with OGC Nice at the Stade Chaban-Delmas.

Bordeaux were reduced to 10 men when Lamine Sane was sent off just after the hour mark, but substitute Henri Saivet gave them the lead with four minutes remaining.

However, Nice leveled two minutes into injury time thanks to a precise lob from Mahamane Traore, but ‘les Aiglons’ are still looking for their first win under the stewardship of new manager Claude Puel.

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