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France - Ligue 1
February 19, 2012
• Parc des Princes, Paris
Referee: T. Chapron
• Attendance: 44398
G. Hoarau 88'
Y. Belhanda 45'+
J. Utaka 82'
Four goals, equally divided. An enthralling match from Ligue 1 sees the spoils shared between the top two. That's it from me, Mohammed Ali tonight. Thank you for joining me, and I'll see you on Tuesday for CSKA Moscow v Real Madrid in the Champions League. Good night!
90' + 6'
And the referee calls time on an enthralling match in Paris. Both sets of players grateful for the point which doesn't do too much harm to either's title challenge as PSG remain a point ahead thanks to Hoarau's late leveller.
90' + 5'
Nene attempts a lofted ball into the box for a last ditch attempt. But that seems to be it.....
90' + 4'
Seems there will be added time added to the initial four minutes. Maxwell is being treated for that injury.
90' + 3'
Yellow Card Olivier Giroud
90' + 3'
Olivier Giroud booked for a late challenge on Maxwell, seconds remaining at the Parc des Princes.
90' + 2'
PSG fans sounding a lot more boisterous in these last few minutes as Thiago Motta fails to control a loose ball in the box.
90' + 1'
FOUR minutes of stoppage time added. Remy Cabella replaces Younes Belhanda!
Almost a third there for PSG! And what a story it would've been. A cross in deep sees Maxwell miss narrowly! What a chance.
Assist Jérémy Menez
Goal Guillaume Hoarau
GOAAAALl!! HOARAU!!!! PSG saved at the death by their substitute after good work from Jeremy Menez, the Frenchman only needed to tap it in past Jourden. Ancelotti's side in for a point!
Souleymane Camara is pegged back after marginally running offside. Earlier, Pastore had another effort which drifted wide. Hosts' stepping up the pressure now!
Rene Girard's men instigate a counter attack through Belhanda who drives through the middle after sustained Parisien pressure. Under five minutes to go in this one!
Montpellier aiming to add to their goal tally as Bocaly and Giroud drive forward. PSG on alert though.
Note, PSG have lost twice at home, and with a one-goal difference to both Lorient and Nancy. Carlo Ancelotti cuts a frustrated figure on the touchline.
Assist Olivier Giroud
Goal John Utaka
GOAAAALLLL!!! MONTPELLIER HAVE DONE IT!!! Superb cross from Olivier Giroud and John Utaka meets it with a fantastic diving header! As it stands, the visitors are top!
Nervy moment for the hosts as Utaka bombs down to chase a loose ball, but Sirigu gets theie in time to clear the ball.
Nene whips in a corner for the hosts, and whilst Lugano jumps highest to meet it, his header is off target. Still 1-1 with 10 minutes or so to play.
PASTORE!! Almost a breakthrough with virtually his first touch!! The Argentine drifts in deep into the box, and is effort from close range is wide. Jourden is less than impressed with his defenders.
Double substitution. Javier Pastore returns from injury to a rousing applause to replace Sissoko. Marveaux replaces the impressive Saihi.
Thiago Motta does well to hold off his marker and shoot goalwards, but his effort is wayward.
Nene darts in from the left flank and shoots a powerful ball goalwards, but it is blocked by Hilton. Quite a subdued second half, from the visitors, who look to be playing for a point.
Slight concern for the ex-Chelsea defender, but he recovers in time. Giroud offers his apologies, but Diego Lugano is on to replace the Brazilian, who scored THAT free-kick in the first half.
Giroud aims to latch onto a loose ball in the penalty box and is blocked by Alex. The second time, Giroud gets more of Alex's head than the ball. Ouch indeed.
Yellow Card Blaise Matuidi
Belhanda's ball in towards the far post is deep, but Sirigu does well to jump high to retrieve the loose ball. Still 1-1 with 20 minutes to go.
Matuidi booked for a rash challenge, with la Paillade awarded a free-kick in a dangerous position.
The visitors take possession of the ball 40 yards from goal, with Giroud and Camara the only two up front. Giroud, however, opts to catch Sirigu off his line but his tame shot from distance is well saved.
In fact, make that two players. Salvatore Sirigu voices his frustration towards referee Chapron, with the ex-Palermo custodian unhappy about the challenges.
Bedimo shows great strength to beat Matuidi and roll the ball out of play. Belhanda on the edge of the area at the other hand tries to find a team-mate, but is crowded out. The hosts have a man down.
Saihi attempts a shot which is blocked by a defender as Hoarau instigates a counter attack. PSG given a free-kick by the referee after loss of advantage.
Rene Girard makes a change of his own. Benjamin Stambouli, Montpellier's player of the month replaces Marco Estrada.
And it is Guillaume Hoarau coming on for Kevin Gameiro, first change made by Carlo Ancelotti.
Menez voices his disapproval at an attempted pass as he fails to keep into play. Nene, on the other flank has been rather ineffective. PSG readying their first substitution.
Belhanda recovers in time, and creates two opportunities in a matter of seconds. Firstly, from the free-kick, the Moroccan blazed well over from distance, and secondly, cuttin in from the left flank fires a tame shot which Sirigu is equal to.
An edgy sort of game we have on now at the Parc des Princes compared to the fiery encounter we had in the opening ten minutes. Meanwhile, the visitors have a player down, and it appears to be Belhanda who was tripped by Motta.
Gameiro moves into space but is thwarted by Garry Bocaly who uses his strength to hold him back as Jourden picks up the ball. Leonardo, the PSG sporting director looks on unimpressed.
An uncertain moment from Yanga-Mbiwa sees the captain clear behind for a corner despite being unchallenged. Montpellier slightly on the back foot for now.
MAXWELL!! Almost an instant response from the left-back who floats into the area but his left-footed effort flashes wide of Jourden's goal.
BELHANDA! Just over from the Moroccan. The number 10 bends the free-kick over the wall, but it flies narrowly over the bar. He's been on fire tonight.
Yellow Card M. Sissoko
PENALTY? No! Close though. Giroud backheels toward Utaka who races towards the box, but is hacked down by Sissoko. Just outside, the referee was correct. Sissoko booked.
Subdued start to the second half, as Mohamed Sissoko passes the ball out of play. Remember, MHSC have not lost here since their promotion to the top flight in 2009.
And we are underway for the second period. Montpellier kick off, attacking from right to left.
The teams are out for the second half........
Well, on the balance of that, I believe Montpellier are best placed to get the three points at Parc des Princes. But enough of me, what do you think? Send me your comments to Twitter to @mohammedali_93
Well, what a half that was! A frantic start from the visitors saw Giroud and Belhanda trouble the visitors, and whilst Gameiro went close at the other end, it would be the league leaders who would take the lead through Alex's rocket of a free-kick. The lead lasted less than five minutes thanks to Younes Belhanda's free header in injury time.
HALF-TIME: Paris Saint-Germain 1-1 Montpellier HSC
45' + 2'
Assist Vitorino Hilton da Silva
45' + 2'
Goal Younes Belhanda
GOAAAAALLLL!!! MONTPELLIER EQUALISE!!! In what surely was the last kick off the first half, Belhanda has dragged the visitors back on level terms. Bisevac cleared the ball for a corner, and Hilton's delivery in towards the Moroccan beat Sirigu and nestled into the bottom corner of the goal.
One minute of injury time signalled at the Parc des Princes.
Belhanda drills one in towards the far post, but Sirigu rose highest to catch the ball.
Maxwell trips Camara on the right flank, and the visitors have their own chance to grab an equaliser before the break.....
Golazo from Alex, he's been anonymous before that for the hosts. PSG ahead, against the run of play, one might argue.
GOAAAAAALLL!! WHAT A GOAL!!!!! SUPERB FREE-KICK FROM ALEX!!! The Brazilian, known for his rocket goals has his first for PSG. Laid off from 30 yards, Alex smashes in via a deflection and past Jourden.
Free-kick to PSG from 30 yards out after Yanga-Mbiwa's challenge on Nene. Concern on the faces of the Montpellier players..........
Getting slightly scrappy now as Camara is penalised for a foul. Meanwhile, Nene finds Bisevac on the right flank, and via Motta, Sissoko aims a cross in, but it is headed away by Hilton.
Nene slips in a cheeky backhell which opens the visitors' defence and Menez, in space, fires well over the goal. Rene Girard screaming instructions on the touchline, meanwhile.
Yellow Card Mamadou Sakho
Ooohhh Mamadou Sakho goes in studs first on Souleymane Camara as a short melee breaks out near the touchline and including both sets of players. Sakho is booked.
Yellow Card Jamel Saihi
Saihi is booked after a crunching challenge on Menez. Referee Tony Chapron issues the first yellow card of the night.
GAMEIRO! Montpellier's defence suffer a lapse in concentration as a through ball opens up the defence towards Gameiro who fires narrowly over from just outside the box. He had a man waiting too.
Belhanda and Saihi combine, and the former jinks past his marker on the edge of the box but attempts to take on too many as Thiago Motta takes control of the ball. Half an hour gone now in Paris.
Stat Alert: Montpellier have only won five out of their last 22 trips to the French capital. However, since their promotion in 2009, they are unbeaten away to PSG.
An overhit cross from the right by Menez sails into the arms of Jourden, who screams at his defenders.
The high-octane tempo from the first few minutes has died down as both sides opt for a more conservative approach. Montpellier still on top however.
GAMEIRO!! First chance of note from Ancelotti's men. Wonderful attacking play sees Gameiro pick up the ball and fire a stinging effort which is met with a stretching save by Jourden. The pull back by Menez is saved by the goalkeeper.
GIROUD! Chance for the visitors. The whipped in cross from the right by Camara meets the head of Giroud who heads high and wide, and not troubling Sirigu.
Menez embarks on a mazy run into the box, and is subsequently barged off by ex-Marseille defender Hilton, who is then met with a barrage of boos.
Javier Pastore looks dejected from the bench. The Argentine international was deemed only fit for the substitutes after he missed the last three weeks of action due to a thigh injury.
One should perhaps comment on the state of the pitch at the Parc des Princes. Bordering on shocking with the turf uneven in places. During the warm-up, Montpellier's players looked on with concern, but it's they who have made a shining start.
Estrada takes the free-kick, but with low power and virtually no accuracy, PSG deal with the threat quite quickly and clear their lines.
Alex, signed from Chelsea last month gives away a silly free kick in a dangerous area. The Brazilian jumped with Giroud, only to foul the striker.
La Paillade again make in-roads on the left flank, in which Maxwell is proving hard to counter. Bedimo breaks free into acres of space, and whilst time was on his side, opts for a first time cross which is saved by Sirigu.
Younes Belhanda has been the main catalyst for the visitors' superb start, the Moroccan seamlessly beat his marker earlier, and is carving open the hosts' defence.
UTAKA! End to end stuff, this! Wonderful run by the Nigerian who cuts in from the wing and fires an effort goalwards which is palmed away by Salvatore Sirigu before the follow up by Giroud is again saved by the Italian goalkeeper. Almost a goal there!
John Utaka attempts a shot from distance, but is charged down by a defender. At the other end, Bisevac crosses in from the right, but it is easily headed away.
Again, the delivery in towards the attackers is poor, and it gives PSG scope to break through Jeremy Menez, but his development is kept in check. Great start from the visitors, Jamel Saihi in particular says Robin Bairner, Goal.com's French Football Editor.
Bocaly floats in a cross from deep and a jittery Bisevac heads behind unchallenged. ANOTHER corner, the fifth in six minutes.....
Belhanda fires in a delivery from the wing, but it is cleared by Kevin Gameiro. No doubt which team is in top in the early stages.
Montpellier have their second corner of the game already, imposing such dominance on the hosts. Estrada's delivery is poor, but he makes amends by reclaiming the ball for another corner.
The delivery is poor, and goes behind Camara and out for a Pariien throw in. Meanwhile, Bisevac is dispossessed by Utaka.
GIROUD! Almost the perfect start for the visitors! The hosts lose possession and Bedimo bombs down the left flank leaving a defender in his wake before a cross in towards the top scorer is cleared behind for an early corner!
AND WE ARE UNDERWAY! PSG get us kicked off, shooting from right to left and in their traditional navy blue. Montpellier in their away white strip.
Arguably Carlo Ancelotti's biggest test as PSG boss so far, a win tonight would put les Parisiens four points ahead, a defeat would see Montpellier take the shock lead in Ligue 1.
Minutes to go before we get underway in Paris. Atmosphere bulding inside the Parc des Princes. Tonight's referee is Tony Chapron.
Right, fans over to you for your predictions. I've gone for a 2-1 victory for Montpellier. Tweet me yours via Twitter to @mohammedali_93 and I'll post them up. Deal?
TEAM NEWS: Carlo Ancelotti fields all three of his January signings, with Alex partnering Mamadou Sakho, and Maxwell continuing to deputise for Siaka Tiene who has only just returned from the Africa Cup of Nations. Thiago Motta is thrust in midfield, with record signing Javier Pastore only fit to make the bench after he missed the last three weeks through injury. For Montpellier, player of the month Benjamin Stambouli makes way for former Marseille defender Hilton, with Souleymane Camara given the nod ahead of Joris Marveaux. 16 goal Olivier Giroud leads the line.
Montpellier: Jourdren; Bocaly, Yanga-Mbiwa, Hilton, Bedimo, Saihi, Estrada, S.Camara, Belhanda, Utaka, Giroud
CONFIRMED TEAM LINE-UPS. Paris Saint Germain: Sirigu; Bisevac, Alex, Sakho, Maxwell; Motta, Sissoko, Matuidi; Menez, Gameiro, Nene.
Elsewhere in Ligue 1 this weekend, challengers Marseille and Lyon failed to win, with the latter slipping to their ninth defeat of the season against Bordeaux. Didier Deschamps' men were held by Valenciennes whilst Lille needed a late goal to beat Lorient. The most surprising scoreline saw Saint Etienne thrash Rennes 4-0 to move into sixth place.
For PSG, they remain unbeaten under the tenure of former Chelsea boss Carlo Ancelotti, as well as avoiding defeat in their last 12 games in all competitions. Les Parisiens, bankrolled by the Qatar Sports Investment Authority only have two trophies to play for, and could move four points clear with a win tonight.
I'm Mohammed Ali, and I'll be guiding you the action from the French capital this evening. As always, you could get involved by sending me your predictions, opinions and more via Twitter to @mohammedali_93. I'll be anticipating them!
Good evening, and welcome to Goal.com's LIVE commentary from Ligue 1 this Sunday evening. It's a huge game, make no mistake as first take on second in the table. Welcome, everybody, to PSG v Montpellier from a chilly Parc des Princes. Confirmed team-lineups to follow shortly.
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