Paris Saint-Germain have moved back to the summit of Ligue 1 on goal difference after defeating Lille 1-0 at Parc des Princes.
In an encounter that was evenly contested, the difference was a freak Aurelien Chedjou own goal with around quarter of an hour remaining.
Paris Saint-Germain had done much of the pressing, but their efforts on goal had been somewhat limited, so when Ezequiel Lavezzi’s driven cross was punched off the Cameroon defender by Steeve Elana and ricocheted into the net, it was a real blessing for Carlo Ancelotti’s men.
With nine minutes remaining, PSG enjoyed another major slice of luck as Tulio de Melo placed a shot off the inside of Salvatore Sirigu’s goal. The Italian had earlier set a club-record landmark of consecutive minutes without conceding a Ligue 1 goal, and he will be pleased to have extended his shut-out streak further.
During the first half PSG had survived a major scare when Ronny Rodelin seemed to have given the visiting side the advantage from a corner kick. Much to the winger’s surprise, the effort was chalked off for an apparent offside on Nolan Roux, although replays would subsequently show that the call was incorrect.
That moment came amidst a crazy period in the first half during which both sides had chances following a slow start to the game that was brightened by the invigorating showing of Lucas Moura. But soon it was the familiar face of Zlatan Ibrahimovic that came to the fore, with the Swede forcing a good save from Elana and also striking the foot of the post. In stoppage time, he had a goal disallowed for offside, though this time the decision was correct.
Although the hosts had much of the ball and territory, Lille had just as many dangerous moments. Dimitri Payet was inevitably to the fore of these, striking over the bar and drawing a good save from Sirigu within 60 first-half seconds.
Some of Lille’s momentum was lost with the half-time interval, though Florent Balmont still enjoyed a couple of promising positions in the second period that were squandered.
Payet was the northerners’ main threat still, and, before PSG had moved themselves in front, he had Parisian hearts in mouths when he struck goalward in the box. Given the time and space he enjoyed, the attacker might have expected to place his shot more accurately to trouble Sirigu.
But the story of the evening for Lille was one of chances missed and bad luck. PSG got more than their share of breaks, and they will end another weekend top of Le Championnat, having surpassed Olympique Lyonnais courtesy of their superior goal difference, but Ancelotti’s side are unlikely to be able to rely so heavily on luck in the weeks to come.