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France - Ligue 1
March 29, 2013
• Parc des Princes, Paris
Referee: W. Bien
• Attendance: 44718
K. Gameiro 80'
90' + 3'
Oh well, soon after the FT whistle, Zlatan Ibrahimovic was forced to tone it down by Wilfried Bien. Something was said, but nevertheless, the Ligue 1 leaders soar ahead of the Champions League quarter-final. Join me then, against Barcelona, on Tuesday evening. Good night!
90' + 3'
FULL-TIME: PSG 1-0 Montpellier - the hosts go eight clear of Olympique Lyonnais. The champions did their best, but were unable to convert their chances.
90' + 1'
Into the first of THREE ADDED MINUTES at the PArc des Princes. The title has gotten that little bit closer for Paris Saint-Germain.
Entering the final minute of the 90 here. It'll be a big win for PSG, but without the performance required. They'll need to step it up several gears ahead of Barcelona.
This time last year it was Guillaume Hoarau who netted for PSG to secure a draw and attempt to thwart Montpellier's title chances. Are Montpellier about to do the same?
Congre muscles away his marker as he attempts to lead the Montpellier charge as they seek an equaliser. The cross in is initially blocked, but Utaka is unable to power a header past Sirigu.
Thiago Silva cleans up at the back, after a threatening move by Utaka. Meanwhile, PSG make their third change of the game - Christophe Jallet on for the impressive Jeremy Menez.
Goal.com's Carlo Garganese on Twitter: PSG finally break the deadlock vs Montpellier with 10 mins left through Gameiro. Will need to step it up to have a chance vs Barca - do you agree?
IBRAHIMOVIC! Now that was the chance to seal it. The free-kick is played short, and finds Ibrahimovic on the edge of the box, as he fires a shot, which deflects ever so slightly off Beckham and out.
It's taken them 80 minutes to score, but PSG can go provisionally ten clear of Lyon with only seven games to go. Again, they're racing forward as Bedimo is penalised for handball.
Assist Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Goal Kevin Gameiro
GOAL! PSG HAVE SCORED! Started by Beckham this one, who diverts the ball into Menez, who in turn feeds Ibrahimovic on the edge of the area. The chance looks to have gone for the Swede, but he selflessly squares the ball for a GAMEIRO tap-in.
Beckham gestures to the referee as Wilfried Bien awards Montpellier a free-kick. But Montpellier are on the break!
Menez dribbles the ball, attemptng to get past Daniel Congre who has been solid at the back despite an otherwise disappointing first season at Montpellier. Can PSG find a breakthrough?
Gameiro chases a loose ball, but is unable to get it from the grips of El Kaoutari who calmly watches it out of play. Jourdren has had little to do since that stunning save in the first half, mind you.
Camara and Martin combine down the right, but that's no real urgency from the champions who are at the moment content to frustrate the hosts and gain a draw. Quarter of an hour left.
A notable face on these match commentaries - Chace Lorans comments: Why sub out Cabella? He was pretty much the best player on the pitch! Sub out Belhanda or Utaka instead. Good point!
Wonder how David Beckham will fare following his whistle-stop tour of China during the last week. Former France left-back Bixente Lizarazu criticised Becks for the globe-trotting, despite Ancelotti's insistence that he'd be fit.
DOUBLE SUBSTITUTION: David Beckham and Kevin Gameiro come on for Clement Chantome and Marco Verratti. For Montpellier, Dabo on for Stambouli too.
Yellow Card Jonas Martin
SUBSTITUTION: Gaetan Charbonnier off for Emanuel Herrera
Sirigu saves well under pressure from Charbonnier after a swift delivery from the right-hand side. PSG have a free-kick again, as lasers are shined on Jourdren. But it's not threatening enough.
It's the champions who are beginning to settle into their distinctive rhythm and grind out the victory. They managed 11 1-0 victories en route to the title last year, the highest in any of the top five European leagues.
Martin tripped by Van der Wiel, as the referee awards MHSC a free-kick. Bedimo poorly tripped by Chantome - we'll soon be seeing a number of introductions from PSG - Beckham among them? Other options on the bench include Jallet and Armand.
Tempo has considerably weakened in the last few minutes as both sides opt for a more conservative approach to breaking the deadlock. We have about 25 minutes left to go at the Parc des Princes.
Free-kick to PSG. Ibrahimovic over it, about 30 metres out. Instead, he powers it well over Jourdren's bar. Meanwhile, Remy Cabella has departed for Jonas Martin.
Yellow Card Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Maxwell attempts to spread the ball into the path of Jeremy Menez, who is considerably offside there. Montpellier readying their first substitution here.
Another free-kick to Montpellier as Zlatan Ibrahimovic picks up the first booking of the game for an unsavoury challenge. Played short to Bedimo, as PSG deflect at the earliest opportunity.
Corner from Montpellier woeful, and easily diverted away by the hosts as the tempo dies down a little. We're almost coming upto the hour - the result will not suit both teams with MHSC in the fight for European qualification alongside a host of teams.
Solomon Vivor comments: So this PSG side can kickout Barca? - well, home advantage, a partisan crowd, and the fact PSG do better in Europe than in Ligue 1 may attest to that!
Awkward moment for Jourdren, who requires a second attempt to claim possession after a powerful chance from distance. It's a matter of who cracks first here in Paris.
CHARBONNIER! Again, another decent chance spurned. Fantastic delivery from the left, and the lanky striker rises highest to power it just wide. Chances at either end.
CABELLA! WHAT A CHANCE FOR MONTPELLIER! Fantastic run by Camara, who is fed in by Belhanda. He leaves Maxwell for dead, nonchalantly lifting the ball past him before firing into the danger zone. Cabella can only deflect the ball just wide under pressure from van der Wiel.
Montpellier are on the ropes. It's another fantastic chance as a long ball from Thiago Silva in defence picks out Ibrahimovic, who heads down towards Menez - the winger can only fire wide. Came at him too quickly.
Well, he's certainly staking a claim to return to the starting eleven. Menez, who has been bright all evening fails to connect with Van der Wiel, who deliversin a sumptuous ball across the face of goal, and it only required a slight touch. Superb delivery.
Frustrating Menez makes progress, but only after Hilton misjudges the flight of the ball. Pastore, races in behind to salvage the attack, but a heavy touch sees the ball roll out of play.
Anonymous comments: Lavezzi isnt even in the squad. Verratti and Menez are really good, switch Chantome instead. - Thoughts? Chantome may not be the big name player, but certainly has the quality.
VAN DER WIEL! Close. Nice play from Ibrahimovic who maintains his balance and fires a ball into the box. Cleared by MHSC, but only into the path of the Dutchman who fires narrowly over the bar.
Bit of confusion here as Rene Girard gestures to the referee that he'd like to make a substitution before the second half commenced, but he'll have to wait now as Matuidi sprays a ball in towards Menez, who is offside.
UNDERWAY in the second half, as Montpellier seek to claim the victory which pushes them back into contention for the Champions League.
Keep the conversation going on Twitter and here on the MatchCentre - we'll be back in 15 minutes for the second half.
Half-time at the Parc des Princes, and it's been a decent game. PSG have had the lion's share of possession, and the chances, but they are unable to unlock a well organised if not open MHSC defence. At the other end, Cabella too has been bright, and it remains to be seen which way this will go.
HALF-TIME: Paris Saint-Germain 0-0 Montpellier Herault SC
Another chance for PSG, as Menez somehow manages to inflitrate the defence, and get the ball just four yards from goal. Luckily, El Kaoutari is on hand to hurriedly block the ball away.
Chantome and Pastore combine brilliantly in a high-octane passing move, but they are unable to break down a resolute MHSC back four at the minute.
Oh, that was woeful. Younes Belhanda over the ball, as he attempts to curl one in. Instead, he opts for the shot, and horribly blazes over the ball. Cue frustration from Girard.
Belhanda with a superb ball, with the outside of his left foot into Bedimo out wide. The left-back races forward, and is taken down by Van der Wiel just outside the box. Can MHSC make this count?
Stambouli, into Bedimo and back - but again the pass forward is poor and heavy as Matuidi breaks and releases Menez. It eventually finds Ibrahimovic, whose shot is tame. Montpellier's defence so open there.
Belhanda dispossesses the ball off Pastore, but after releasing Bedimo on the left, the Cameroonian is unable to do much with it. Sirigu concedes the corner after a poor back pass. Montpellier's first of the game.
Congre penalised for a challenge on Matuidi, as the referee tells the number 12 to calm down. They both went for the ball, and Congre seemed to not make any contact. Free-kick PSG nonetheless.
Montpellier have finally gotten the ball out of their area as they look to counter. Cabella, again leads the charge, but with no other option, he opts to strike - and strike over the bar.
ALEX! Good header, and a decent chance for the hosts. Menez's delivery is this time met by the ex-Chelsea defender, who powers a bullet header towards Jourdren, but saved.
Still, PSG on the rampage as Menez races into the box. It requires both Hilton and Congre to avert the danger, and the hosts have a corner here.
THIAGO SILVA! Brilliant save by Jourdren. The wind is firmly in PSG's sails as Menez's fantastic delivery sees Thiago Silva rise highest to meet the inswinging ball. It takes a bounce, and forces Jourdren to pull off a stunning save.
Free-kick to PSG on the edge of the area,seconds after a second penalty appeal as Stambouli and Gregory van der Wiel go toe-to-toe in the box. Free-kick to be taken by Menez.
IBRAHIMOVIC! What a chance, what a chance. Again set up, the Swede powers an unstoppable shot just wide of Jourdren's post.
PENALTY?! NO! The referee tells Jeremy Menez to get up after he tumbles under the challenge of Bedimo. Can't really tell from this angle, but the referee seemed sure there.
Mohammadreza Mahmoodi comments: PSG wins; Ibra scores, I am sure!! - it's been the case so many times this season. Keep them coming!
Goal.com's Carlo Garganese on Twitter: If there is one midfielder perfect for Barcelona, it is Verratti. Next week Xavi will be playing against his heir #PSG - what do you make of that? Tweet me @mohammedali_93
CHARBONNIER! Out of the blue, and it's a great chance for Montpellier as Cabella's dribbling helps MHSC progress, before the forward spurns a curling shot wide of Sirigu's goal.
Pastore in the mix as Verratti picks out Ibrahimovic again beautifully, but an awkward bounce almost spins the ball out of play. Ibra does well to attempt to keep it in, but only Jourdren claims control.
Chantome advances into a promising situation, but he takes a heavy touch on the ball allowing Utaka to drop back and dispossess. Montpellier are holding their own considerably well at the back.
IBRAHIMOVIC! Chance for PSG, and that Verratti-Ibra connection is evident once more as the Italy youngster pings a sumptuous ball over the defence and into the path of the 31-year-old. Ibrahimovic gets a touch on the ball marginally before goalkeeper Jourdren, but he sends the ball over.
Almost twenty minutes gone, and it's PSG 0-0 Montpellier here at the Parc des Princes. A competitive start, with decent chances at both ends.
Montpellier gently knock the ball around the PSG half, as Belhanda sprays the ball towards Cabella who in turn feeds Camara. The ball from the right is threatening, as it's powerfully whipped in and deflects off Cabella, and into Sirigu's arms. Close.
Former France coach Laurent Blanc in the stands to watch this one. The ex-Montpellier and Man Utd star is rumoured to be in the mix to replace current boss Rene Girard at the end of the season.
Free-kick taken short by Montpellier, who are making use of the width afforded to them, but are unable to test Salvatore Sirigu in the opposing goal at the minute.
Ouch. Marco Verratti protests to the referee following a foul from Remy Cabella, where the MHSC youngster left a boot in. Referee gives a free-kick as a pensive Louis Nicollin watches on.
SD comments: "PSG are a joke if they don't win this" - well, Montpellier are not exactly a team that you'd expect PSG to thrash. Keep sending me your comments - Twitter to @mohammedali_93, and to the matchcentre chatbox.
Free-kick to PSG after Menez takes a tumble. It's in a good positon, about 30 metres to the left of goal. Ibrahimovic keeps the slightly over-hit delivery in, before Thiago Silva waywardly fires over.
Good effort from Jeremy Menez, who is back into the starting eleven following injury to Lucas Moura. The ex-Roma star curls his effort, but is unable to get it on target.
Now, it's Ibrahimovic who attacks furiously down the other end. The Swede is up against Abdelhamid El Kaoutari, and after beating the Moroccan, he powers his shot over Jourdren's goal.
Woeful shot by Camara after a promising attacking foray from the champions. Lovely cross-field ball from Belhanda into the path of Congre, who heads towards Camara. The forward instead half-volleys it too high, and it nestles in Sirigu's arms.
Pastore breaks, but fouls Henri Bedimo in the process as Montpellier are awarded a free-kick. MHSC have something to play for, as they sit six points behind third-placed Marseille in the final spot for Champions League qualification.
Well, Montpellier have recovered from that early slump as they threaten down the wings again. Van der Wiel is nowhere as Utaka races in on the edge, but his low cross in towards Camara takes a poor touch of the Senegalese forward as Matuidi gets it away.
CABELLA! Well, he was giving the time and space there. PSG fail to get their bearings right as Cabella sails through the middle, but under pressure he scuffs his effort, which lands considerably wide of Sirigu's goal.
It's Montpellier's turn to attempt to open the scoring in a positive start at either side. John Utaka drifts in through the centre, but his shot is straight at Salvatore Sirigu.
Should've been 1-0 there and then. Superb pass it was from Javier Pastore to open up the Herault defence. It would've been the perfect start pre-Barcelona too.
CHANTOME! What a start, and what a miss. Fantastic pass from the midfield finds Clement Chantome on the right edge of the penalty box. He drags his shot wide despite having time on his side as the ball sails past Jourdren. WHAT A CHANCE!
KICK OFF! Champions v Champions Elect? We soon shall see as Wilfried Bien gets us underway. PSG attacking from right to left.
The sides are in the tunnel at a noisy Parc des Princes here in a slightly windy Parc des Princes. Jeremy Menez, interviewed by beINSport just before kick-off says the side are not focusing on Barcelona yet, as they seek to open up a big lead at the top.
TEAM NEWS David Beckham named only on the bench following China trip during the international break as Alex and Gregory van der Wiel are preferred to Mamadou Sakho and Christophe Jallet, who are expected to take to the field against Barcelona instead. Ibrahimovic also starts, with Jeremy Menez taking the place of Lucas. For Montpellier, the likes of Younes Belhanda and Remy Cabella remain, with Gaetan Charbonnier handed the main role.
MONTPELLIER HERAULT SC: Jourdren; Hilton, Bedimo, Congre, El Kaoutari; Belhanda, Cabella, Stambouli, Utaka; Charbonnier, Camara.
PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN: Sirigu; Van der Wiel, Thiago Silva, Alex, Maxwell; Matuidi, Verratti, Chantome, Pastore; Ibrahimovic, Menez.
CONFIRMED TEAM NEWS:
Ancelotti meanwhile has refused to tinker with his side, with a full-strength team named as they continue their push for that elusive Hexagoal trophy. They sit seven ahead of Olympique Lyonnais and nine ahead of Olympique de Marseille. A defeat here would push the title race open......again.
Nevertheless, outgoing Montpellier coach Rene Girard has wearily reminded the media this week that his side are still French champions, despite the glitz and glamour that PSG command nowadays. Girard will face les Parisiens for the final time this evening as MHSC coach, with his contract ending in the summer. He oversaw the 1-1 draw at Stade de la Mosson last November - a game which saw both teams reduced to ten men.
How times have changed since that frenetic night on 20th May of last year. PSG laboured to a win at Lorient though Montpellier had to overcome two delays amid crowd trouble to claim a maiden title ahead of their affluent cousins. In fact, when the two sides featured in this fixture last year, Montpellier were top, not seventh, with only Guillaume Hoarau (now in China) bagging a late equaliser. Ten months is too long in football....
You can forgive PSG for not prioritisng this game ahead of a huge Champions League quarter-final against FC Barcelona here in Paris on Tuesday. With upto a million requests for tickets for that fixture, tonight - the Ligue 1 champions haven't commanded that sort of frenzy, though they can aim to delay Les Parisiens' somewhat disjointed run for a first title since 1994.
I'm Mohammed Ali, and I'll be guiding you through today's events for the next two hours. Don't forget to use Twitter to send us your predictions, musings and comments and tell me what you think throughout the 90 minutes - the handle is @mohammedali_93. Also, don't forget to interact with the Goal.com MatchCentre, on the box to your right.
Good evening and welcome to Goal.com's LIVE! text commentary from Ligue 1. Round 30 - eight games left until the end of the season. And tonight sees champions Montpellier travel to what many perceive to be champions elect Paris Saint-Germain at the Parc des Princes. Team news shortly.
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