LEAGUE 1: PSG claim first victory of season at promoted Nantes


Tue, Aug 27, 2013 - Page 18

Paris Saint-Germain recorded their first win of the season on Sunday, but the narrow 2-1 victory at promoted Nantes was far from convincing from the defending French champions.

Edinson Cavani almost gave PSG the lead in the 23 minute, but sent a fierce volley just past the left upright. However, the Uruguay international striker grabbed his second goal of the season less than a minute later, beating the offside trap to race onto Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s through-ball and fire home.

Nantes began to get into the game and had two brilliant chances to level moments before halftime.

Vincent Bessat found himself all alone in front of goal, but PSG defender Maxwell threw himself at the ball to deflect the effort over the bar. Goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu then blocked Gabriel Cichero’s acrobatic effort from the resulting corner.

Nantes did equalize seven minutes into the second half, when PSG defender Alex headed Jordan Veretout’s free-kick into his own net under pressure from Papy Mison Djilobodji and the hosts almost took the lead shortly after, but Sirigu pulled off a fantastic save to tip Alejandro Bedoya’s effort over the bar.

Ezequiel Lavezzi scored what proved to be the winner in the 73rd minute, volleying into the top-right corner after Lucas’ effort was cleared off the line by Cichero.

Nantes laid siege to PSG’s goal and the champions were forced to defend in numbers as they clung on for their first victory after opening their title defense with two draws.

“It’s good, we’re especially happy to get our first victory,” Sirigu said. “We suffered, but the result makes us happy. When they equalized I thought it wasn’t going to happen this time, but finally we scored our second goal and won. It’s not easy to make so many champions play together, but everyone plays well. We have players capable of making the difference and who want to help the team win when they come on the pitch.”

PSG have five points and remain four points below league leaders Olympique de Marseille, who are the only side with a perfect record after AS Saint-Etienne’s 1-0 loss at LOSC Lille Metropole.

Salomon Kalou scored from the penalty spot in the 37th minute for Lille, sending Saint-Etienne goalkeeper Stephane Ruffier the wrong way. Kalou won the penalty when he forced his way into the area between Francois Clerc and Jeremy Clement, and was bundled over by Clement.

It was the first goal that Saint-Etienne have conceded in the league this season.

Both sides then struggled to create chances.

Lille almost doubled their lead in the 66th minute, but Ruffier pulled off a brilliant save to parry a fierce, swerving shot from Ronny Rodelin.

It was Saint-Etienne’s second defeat in a week after their Europa League loss at Esbjerg fB.

OGC Nice were also beaten in the first leg of the Europa League playoff round, losing 2-0 at Apollon Limassol. The travel seemed to be taking a toll on Sunday as Nice also appeared sluggish and limped to a goalless draw at AC Ajaccio.

Nice almost got off to the perfect start, but Christian Bruls’ early headed goal was ruled out as teammate Dario Cvitanich was flagged offside.

Both Ajaccio and Nice had just two shots on target.

Ajaccio have two points from their opening three matches, while Nice have four.