LEAGUE 1: Paris Saint-Germain ride their luck to grab top spot


Tue, Jan 29, 2013 - Page 18

Paris Saint-Germain rode their luck to wrest back top spot in Ligue 1 from Olympique Lyonnais on Sunday — an own-goal by defender Aurelien Chedjou enough to land three points against LOSC Lille Metropole at the Parc des Princes.

Chedjou was the villain of the piece for the visitors, who might easily have taken a point had he not deflected home a loose ball after Lille goalkeeper Steeve Elana parried a cross from Ezequiel Lavezzi midway through the second half.

Carlo Ancelotti’s men could have had more goals as Swedish striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic hit the post with a sweetly struck effort, while another effort from the same player stretched Elana.

However, Lille also had cause to feel hard done by before the break when Ronny Rodelin appeared to have opened the scoring from a corner kick — only for teammate Nolan Roux to be given offside.

Television replays suggested the assistant referee’s call was harsh as PSG survived to stand clear of Lyon on goal-difference, with both clubs on 45 points from 22 games, three ahead of Olympique de Marseille, who were held 2-2 on Saturday by Stade Rennais.


After Tulio de Melo had hit the woodwork in another scare for the home fans, PSG held out, which was a boon for Italian goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu, who during the game set a club record of minutes without conceding a Ligue 1 goal.

After the opening 12 minutes, Sirigu passed the mark of 697 minutes set by former France international shot-stopper Bernard Lama back in 1996 and his clean sheet stretched the record by another 78 minutes.

Sirigu last conceded a goal in the 35th minute of a Nov. 17 loss to Rennes and he has since kept a clean sheet seven times.

The overall French record belongs to former Girondins de Bordeaux goalkeeper Gaetan Huard, who in 1993 was unbeaten for 1,176 minutes — more than 13 matches.

“It was tough right to the final whistle,” Sirigu said.

“We got a lucky goal, then defended well,” he told Canal Plus television.

Coach Carlo Ancelotti said PSG gave away far too much possession.

“We didn’t have things well under control. We were lucky, that’s a fact, but there were many other times when we didn’t have that luck. I am happy, as you can’t always turn in a fantastic showing, but you must be solid and the main thing is to win,” Ancelotti said.


Elsewhere, Bordeaux scored a 1-0 win at OGC Nice to overhaul their hosts to take fifth spot with Henri Saivet on target.

Earlier on Sunday, former giants AS Saint-Etienne kept their hopes of qualifying for Europe next season alive with an easy 3-0 win over SC Bastia.

After losing ground last month when they hit something of a goal drought, Saint-Etienne got their season back on track by taking an early lead through Brazilian Brandao after just nine minutes.

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and substitute Josuah Guilavogui rounded things off to leave Les Verts seventh, a point behind Bordeaux and Nice.