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23 August 2014
• Parc des Sports, Annecy
Referee: B. Bastien
• Attendance: 14600
Second setback for PSG but a moral victory for Evian. That's my cue, from me, Keeghann Sinanan, it's been a pleasure.
Paris Saint-Germain are let frustrated for their second draw in their opening three games. Cavani had a great chance in either half, but they labored long before Cabaye's dismissal, and even needed Sirigu to save them from late embarrassment.
A hard earned and well deserved point for Evian. They defended doggedly and their rearguard action must surely be reassuring for Dupraz after two leaky opening games. They truly never looked in danger since Cabaye's sending off.
90' + 4'
PSG make a late surge forward, but their last chance to grab a goal is ended when Pastore is called for a sloppy foul. Evian restart the game, and that's enough for the referee! He signals for full time.
90' + 3'
LATE DRAMA! Sirigu pulls off a world class save to tip a goalbound effort over the bar! Evian cause problems from the resulting corner and keep the pressure on, before Wass eventually misses a snap shot from inside the area! PSG get away with one there!
90' + 1'
That was terrible. Evian win a free kick right on the edge of the box, and everyone packs into the PSG box for the delivery. Barbosa takes charge, but his effort nearly takes out a floodlight. He looks mortified, and his teammates disgusted.
Nothing comes of that corner, with Evian in a rush to get men back. The result is within touching distance now, and it seems that PSG are resigned to their fate at this point in the game.
Lavezzi's cross towards Cavani is smothered by Hansen, who bowls it out straight away to Wass to start the counter. However, the cross doesn't come in, but Evian at least win a corner.
Digne commits a completely unintentional elbow on Wass that leaves the Evian top scorer in a heap. Replays show that the PSG left-back simply jumped that much higher than his opponent, leading to his elbow trailing where Wass' head had been.
Bille is swapped out after a thankless task up front all game. Starved of service and on the receiving end of a few tough challenges, his night is done. On comes the veteran Barbosa for the final stretch.
PSG may well have to settle for a draw at this stage, given how things are going on the pitch. Evian are looking capable of causing problems in the attacking third all of a sudden.
Very anticlimactic. The ball sails over the head of most players and is helped further away from goal by a touch at the far post. Evian continue to attack though, they've got PSG penned back at the moment!
Yellow Card Marco Verratti
YELLOW CARD FOR VERRATTI! He commits a handball just outside his own box and for one second, the referee has the red card visible. However, he only flashes the lesser card at the midfielder, which is still his second of the season in only his third game. Good free kick chance to come for the home side here too...
Pastore's recent explosion may have just kept him on the pitch, as Blanc hauls off Lucas, who really has disappeared in this half. On comes Lavezzi in a like for like swap. Can Argentina do what Brazil could not and break down this defence?
After a long period on the periphery of the game, Pastore has come to life with an excellent through pass to pick out Cavani, who freed himself down the right once again. However, he doesn't take it all the way, instead opting to cut back and wait for support, which leads to the death of the chance.
That may just remind Evian not to get too excited with their man advantage. It was a rare lapse for them, as they were caught under-manned at the back during that last chance.
HANSEN COMES UP HUGE! Like so many times this game, the ball was lofted in to Cavani, who peeled off the shoulder of his defender and moved slightly off-centre. He lashes an effort at goal but the Evian keeper shows great reflexes to keep it out and keep the scores level!
Since Cabaye's dismissal, we've seen Evian commit more men forward when they get on the ball. Certainly, they have every chance of getting something from this game with their numerical advantage.
N'Sikulu sees a snap shot blocked from just inside the area, before Sorlin goes hard with a tackle on Verratti that he sees a yellow card for, no surprise with PSG baying for blood.
Yellow Card Olivier Sorlin
Well, what does THAT mean to PSG's chances in this game? They created almost nothing with 11, how will they fare with one less? Does that also open the door for Evian to release the shackles in attack?
Yellow/Red Yohan Cabaye
RED CARD! CABAYE OFF! Careless from the ex-Newcastle man, who goes in late on Bille, which leaves the referee with no choice but to award him his second yellow card. His first sending off in a PSG shirt.
First sub of the game and it surprisingly comes from the home side. Dupraz takes off Bruno, whose only real impact came right at the end of the first half. On comes Camus.
Verratti has hit some lovely passes from deep tonight, but his latest offering finds Cavani and two others in a clear offside position. It's been a very frustrating night for the Uruguayan against the relentless defensive attention that he's received.
Verratti leaves his foot in on Sabaly, catching the left back late and tripping him up. This sparks a bit of handbags between the sides, with Cavani in particular getting involved. No danger of a second yellow for Sabaly, but Cavani would do well to get moving away from the scene of the crime.
A telling stat coming in. Paris Saint-Germain had 541 touches of the ball in the first half, but only four of those were inside the Evian penalty area (via Fox Sports). It really isn't surprising if you look at the way that the hosts have defended throughout this match.
Second corner of the game for Evian, with their first coming all the way back in the opening minute of the game. Tells the story of their attacking contributions, really. This delivery is whipped into the heart of the box, but Sirigu punches clear in a crowd before the referee whistles for a foul against the home side.
Verratti spots Cavani peeling away down the left channel, and picks him out with a perfectly weighted lob. I'm not sure what Cavani tried next, but it was neither a flick to Moura nor an elaborate piece of ball control. Angoula robs him of the ball easily.
Surely PSG can't keep going on like this for much longer? They continue to pass the ball around without any real penetration or purpose in the final third. Evian looking comfortable at the back.
PSG win a free kick on the left hand side and both Luiz and Marquinhos make their way forward. Cabaye takes a back seat to Lucas on this free kick, but he might regret that decision after watching the Brazilian's delivery slam into the shins of the first defender.
No changes at the break from either manager and PSG start the half on the front foot. The possession continues to fall to the away side and they continue to struggle to find a way through.
Here we go again!
My bet is that we will definitely see Lavezzi at some point in the second half. He's the best option on the bench to stretch the defence and really open up this game. Evian may find it difficult to keep tabs on him, Lucas and Cavani at the same time.
Evian can rightfully be proud of what they've offered in the first half. Keeping a clean sheet will arguably be the biggest thing that they can take from this game, given their nine goals conceded in their opening two games.
Hardly a classic here at the Parc des Sports. Paris Saint-Germain have been frustrated for the vast majority of this half, with Cavani wasting their one and only genuine opening by taking too long to shoot.
45' + 1'
Bruno again tries to make something happen, this time embarking on a footrace of his own against Aurier. However, the powerful right back executes a perfect sliding tackle to get rid of the ball. And that's the last action of the half as the referee signals for the interval.
Bille tries, and fails to win a footrace against Marquinhos, after an excellent through ball from Bruno. Great defending from the young Brazilian, who started his run from a good starting position.
Evian are forcing the visitors further and further away from their goal. The hosts will be perfectly happy to ride this scoreline all the way to the final whistle after the start to the season that they've had.
Marquinhos tries to feed Cavani with a deep ball from the back, but the striker is correctly called for an offside. One of a ridiculously expensive trio of central defenders on the books at PSG, Marquinhos has a chance to impress with Thiago Silva out for a few weeks with a hamstring injury.
There continues to be a lack of penetration from the away side as the game has rather ground to a standstill out on the pitch. Half time is less than 10 minutes away and it seems to be coming at a perfect time for Blanc to stick the boot in his lethargic team.
Cavani's pass is a touch too heavy for Aurier to latch on to. Pity, as the Ivorian had the freedom of the pitch in front of him to gallop into. After heavy links with Arsenal, he's joined PSG on loan from Toulouse, a strange arrangement that we might see a lot more of in football as big clubs seek to circumvent Financial Fair Play restrictions.
It's just wave after wave of PSG possession here at the Parc des Sports. The home fans, to their credit, are serving up a great atmosphere, with the drums and chanting not stopping since the first whistle.
So far, the most effective players for PSG have been their midfield trio of Cabaye, Matuidi and Verratti, along with Lucas Moura. After a decent start, Pastore is starting to disappear a little. We might see a more direct option like Lavezzi brought on later to move PSG into a genuine 4-3-3.
Evian have started to concentrate their defensive focus into central areas, with PSG's last two attacks focused through the middle. Apart from full backs Abdallah and Sabaly, there's no one in the channels for Evian when PSG are on the ball.
A lot of the pre-match talk focused on just how many goals Paris Saint-Germain would rack up here against Evian. So far, that last Cavani chance has been the closest we've come to an opener. Evian's defence has been punishing, but effective so far.
CHANCE GOES BEGGING! Verratti slips in Cavani with a deft through ball, and the striker has time to pick his spot. However, he dallies for too long, allowing the defence to get back. He skips past one man, then two, before losing his balance and unleashing a weak shot that 's blocked.
Signs of life from Evian in attack at last. No surprise to see Wass on the end of the chance, though it's more speculative than threatening. He smacks one on goal from all of 35 yards, but Sirigu is more than equal to it.
Not good enough in the end. That was promising position, just far out enough to get the ball over the wall and back down on target, but Cavani makes it supremely easy for Hansen to catch.
Yellow Card Youssouf Sabaly
Sabaly becomes the next Evian player with a yellow card thanks to a shameless barge into Verratti, who was moments away from bursting into the box. This sets up a dangerous free kick chance for PSG...
Evian are really struggling to get the ball out of their own half for sustained spells, but they're not making it easy for Paris Saint-Germain to do much with it either. Still very tight out there.
Yellow Card Yohan Cabaye
Cabaye becomes the next player in the book for going in late on Bille. No complaints from the former Newcastle midfielder, who showed a surprising lack of restraint on that challenge.
We haven't seen a whole lot of Daniel Wass so far. The Dane, who can play anywhere on the right flank, has been the lone bright spot for Evian this season, with two goals in as many games.
Yellow Card Jonathan Mensah
First booking of the game and it goes to an Evian player. Mensah is the man carded, for a foul on Lucas that was a little too close to the referee for him to ignore for long.
Still not a whole lot to report in terms of goalscoring chances. Pastore is starting to find his feet, but he's been the victim of a few tough challenges already from Evian. Their gameplan is clear.
It continues to be a match dominated by long spells of PSG possession. Crucially for Evian though, they haven't really gotten a genuine sight on goal yet. The game remains goalless.
There's still talk that PSG will make a big splash in the transfer market before the summer is done. Angel Di Maria is the logical candidate, but it seems that Financial Fair Play has finally made life tricky for the capital club. Names like Lavezzi and Cavani have sprung up as potential departures to fund the Di Maria signing.
The away side, as you would expect, are beginning to take control of this game. Evian are allowing Matuidi to see a lot of the ball in midfield, with their attention focused on limiting the space behind their backline for Cavani and Lucas to exploit.
Solid start here for Evian, who force a corner, but can't even get it past the first man. PSG have a chance on the counter with a brief man advantage, but Pastore can't spread the ball to the free man out wide quickly enough.
Here we go then! Evian get us underway.
We could see an on-the-fly shift from a 4-3-3 to a 4-3-1-2 tonight from the Ligue 1 champs. Javier Pastore will be the key man in orchestrating that change, as he may drift from a wide role into his natural number 10 position, moving Lucas into a more direct position playing off Cavani.
L'ETG have the worst defensive record in the division so far, so it will be fascinating to see Cavani's performance tonight. Thrust into his favoured central role, the Uruguayan striker will bear the goalscoring burden with Ibrahimovic out. He's been linked with a move away from the French capital, but given recent injury developments, I doubt that PSG will consider anything other than a monster offer.
Evian aren't in good form heading into this match - a fact that has been recognised by their coach. So furious was Dupraz after that devastating defeat to Rennes, that he cancelled the squad's day off ahead of tonight's match. They currently prop up the Ligue 1 table with no points from their opening two games.
Blaise Matuidi captains PSG tonight with regular skipper Thiago Silva missing for what looks to be like several weeks with a hamstring injury. Also on the treatment table is Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who limped out of their 2-0 win over Bastia last week. That means that Edinson Cavani will lead the line by himself, though he has support from Javier Pastore and Lucas Moura. New signings Serge Aurier and David Luiz also start in defence.
Pascal Dupraz has called on Aldo Angoula and Jonathan Mensah to man his defence, which has been wobbling recently, especially after a 6-2 loss to Rennes. Clarck N'Sikulu also starts for the home side, some eight months after his goal in a 2-0 win against the same opponents that ended their then 36 match unbeaten run.
PSG (4-3-3): Sirigu; Aurier, Luiz, Marquinhos, Digne; Cabaye, Verratti, Matuidi; Lucas Moura, Cavani, Pastore.
Evian (4-4-2): Hansen; Sabaly, Angoula, Mensah, Abdallah; Wass, Sorlin, Kone, N'Sikulu; Nielsen, Bruno.
Greetings everyone, and welcome to this weekend's early Ligue 1 kickoff. Join me, Keeghann Sinanan as Evian Thonon Gaillard host Paris Saint-Germain.
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