Carlo Ancelotti’s side were indebted to the giant Swede, who struck quarter of an hour from time to secure maximum points for the below-par league leadersParis Saint-Germain at least temporarily opened up a three-point advantage over Olympique de Marseille at the summit of Ligue 1 on Saturday evening as they battled their way to a 1-0 success against Nancy at Stade Marcel-Picot.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic was the match winner for the visiting side, finding the net 16 minutes from time with a terrific shot from the edge of the area. PSG certainly had not had things all their own way over the course of the encounter, with Lossemy Karaboue hitting the post for the home side early on.
Nancy’s early performance comprehensively belied their position at the foot of Ligue 1 as they looked effervescent and dangerous. Only three minutes into the game Jean Fernandez’s men offered their first major threat, with Karaboue’s drive from range hitting the inside of Salvatore Sirigu’s left post.
Several more long-range efforts followed for the home side but typically they were off target. When Massiado Haidara did work the Italy international, the shot required only a simple save.
PSG started to wake from their slumber following an exciting Javier Pastore run down the right, yet it would be Mamadou Sakho who first directly threatened les Chardons’ net with a forceful downward header.
This was quickly followed by a great opening for Kevin Gameiro, who was the recipient of a lucky break of the ball but who was superbly denied by Ndy Assembe.
Early in the second half, the vivacious Jeremy Menez created space superbly for himself before launching a shot high and wide from inside the box, and it seemed that the menace of PSG was fading as Thomas Mangani drew a routine save from Sirigu at the other end.
Then Ibrahimovic stepped forward. Nancy did not heed the warning of a stunning 30-yard drive that dipped over the top, allowing the giant Swede to battle his way into a shooting position at the edge of the box with 16 minutes remaining. He needed no second invitation and sent a fierce shot into the net.
In the last minute, a Romain Grange free kick was saved by Sirigu, but the Italian was not seriously worked as PSG held out easily, even threatening twice through Menez in stoppage time.
Although PSG left chilly Lorraine with maximum points, it will be basement side Nancy who take most of the plaudits after a performance that seriously tested Carlo Ancelotti’s side. While the capital side are still yet to find their top gear, they head into the winter top, though this victory will doubtless only increase concerns they are reliant on Ibrahimovic.