Fri, Dec 06, 2013 - Page 19 News List

Evian brings PSG’s long unbeaten run to an end

AFP, PARIS

Paris Saint-Germain’s Swedish forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic controls the ball during their Ligue 1 match at the Parc des Sports stadium in Annecy, France, on Wednesday.

Photo: AFP

Paris Saint-Germain failed to equal the record for their longest unbeaten run in France’s top flight as they suffered a shock 2-0 defeat away to Evian Thonon Gaillard on Wednesday.

Youngster Clarck Nsikulu put Evian in front at the end of a counterattack with 15 minutes remaining in freezing Annecy, and on-loan Olympique de Marseille winger Modou Sougou made sure of the win for the home side when he added another in the 87th minute.

That goal came just seconds after Javier Pastore had missed a glorious chance to bring the defending champions level, and the result ends PSG’s unbeaten record under Laurent Blanc.

Indeed, the capital club’s sequence of Ligue 1 matches without defeat ends at 26, one short of the club record set in their title-winning 1993-1994 campaign.

And their overall run without losing in all competitions ends at 36 matches, also one short of the club record.

However, that sequence does not include a defeat to Evian on penalties in the quarter-finals of the French Cup last season, and now the club from the shadow of the Alps can claim to be PSG’s bogey side.

“This win is marvelous for all our fans, the whole region. I have to congratulate my players,” said Evian coach Pascal Dupraz, who nevertheless admitted his frustration that his side were unable to produce such performances on a regular basis.

Blanc did not dwell long on the run coming to an end.

“We had our chances in the first-half and we can have regrets about the loss because we should have opened the scoring and that could have meant a different result,” he said.

Blanc’s side are now just a single point clear of LOSC Lille Metropole at the top of the table, with the northern side having beaten Marseille 1-0 on Tuesday, with Nolan Roux scoring a stoppage-time winner as Nigerian goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama kept his 11th consecutive clean sheet.

Meanwhile, AS Monaco are just one point further behind in third after they won 3-0 away to OGC Nice in a Cote d’Azur derby on Tuesday, achieved without Radamel Falcao, as the Colombian missed a second successive game due to injury.

James Rodriguez, Emmanuel Riviere and Lucas Ocampos got the goals for Claudio Ranieri’s men, as Nice fell to a sixth straight defeat.

Elsewhere on Wednesday, veteran goalkeeper Mickael Landreau broke the record for the most appearances by any player in France’s top flight as he started for SC Bastia in their Corsican derby draw with AC Ajaccio.

French international Landreau played his 603rd Ligue 1 game, three days after equaling the previous record held by former Monaco goalkeeper Jean-Luc Ettori, in a game played on neutral ground on the mainland at the Stade Parsemain, home of second-tier club Istres.

However, Landreau, formerly of Nantes, PSG and Lille, was unable to help Bastia beat their island rivals as the game ended in a 1-1 draw, a late Eduardo strike for Ajaccio canceling out Florian Raspentino’s early opener.

“It is fabulous to experience this and to be able to share it,” Landreau said after the match. “The game was played behind closed doors, but I prepare for every match in the same manner. I can feel what this represents, and it is massive.”

AS Saint-Etienne missed the chance to reclaim fifth spot as they went down 3-1 away to Stade Rennes in Brittany, with Argentine striker Silvio Romero scoring his first two goals in French soccer for the hosts.

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