La Paillade registered a narrow win over les Parisiens, who were forced to play extra-time with ten men...
Les Parisiens had heaved after Clement Chantome was sent-off just before the end of regulation time, and with 118 minutes on the clock they finally broke. Olivier Giroud, who was magnificent all night, was the hero, heading home a Geoffrey Dernis cross to send the Stade de la Mosson into raptures.
Jean-Eudes Maurice hit the post in stoppage time for the visitors, but their charge came too late.
PSG made the more confident start to the match, but after la Paillade had seen off the early threat of their guests, they were the first side to really get their teeth into the match. Direct play from Rene Girard’s men saw Souleymane Camara deliver a cross for Karim Ait Fana, though his knockdown was wasted by top scorer Giroud, who miskicked when well placed.
The hosts continued to offer a significant threat. A fine strike from Garry Bocaly threatened Gregory Coupet’s goal but passed too high, while Marco Estrada drew a fine save from the former France goalkeeper as the game gained momentum. Giroud would head just wide as Montpellier cranked up the pressure, but PSG wrestled their way back into proceedings before the break.
Guillaume Hoarau offered the first serious moment of worry to the hosts with 40 minutes on the clock, but the striker flashed an effort just wide of the target when well placed. This set the tone for the remainder of the first half, and PSG would not lose any of this positive momentum over the half-time interval.
It was Chantome’s turn to have an effort flirt with the home goal only a few minutes after the restart. Nene’s corner wasn’t properly cleared by the Montpellier rearguard, who watched thankfully as the midfielder’s shot zipped past the post.
When Nene was withdrawn by Antoine Kombouare, les Parisiens lost some of their offensive threat and MHSC became the more meaningful force. A superb piece of defending from Mamadou Sakho thwarted Giroud, before a misjudgement from Coupet resulted in the Ait Fana taking the ball round the goalkeeper, though he couldn’t convert from a tight angle.
Increasingly the game was tetchy, and with only a minute of normal time left on the clock Chantome was shown a second yellow card, leading to an inevitable red and an angry exchange between the two benches.
Extra-time proved difficult for the tiring Parisiens, though they had a golden chance to strike the opening blow of this encounter when Hoarau contrived to shoot wide of an open goal with his weaker left foot from close range.
La Paillade did all the pressing in the additional half hour, but PSG defended ruggedly and were a threat on the counter until they were caught out desperately late on.
Giroud’s goal gave Montpellier a deserved success, allowing the remarkable progress made under Girard’s stewardship to continue at pace.