The Argentine again provided a vital contribution as the capital club took control of Le Championnat with a hard-fought victoryParis Saint-Germain dealt the first major blow in the battle for the Ligue 1 title as they defeated Olympique Lyonnais 2-0 at the Parc des Princes.
Javier Pastore grabbed the first goal of the game, squeezing the ball into Hugo Lloris’ net from a tight angle midway through the second half. Right at the death, Christophe Jallet provided a firm finish for the second.
As in many highly-billed matches, the first half struggled to live up to the hype. Both sides offered a threat, but this was measured and there were few genuine chances created in a tightly-contested 45 minutes that finished goalless.
Alexandre Lacazette was a surprising selection in the Lyon side, and he would go close on two occasions early on before fading from the game. Holding midfielder Maxime Gonalons would also go close, flicking a header wide from a corner, while Michel Bastos’ long range shooting was also a threat.
PSG perhaps enjoyed marginally the better of the opportunities, however. Kevin Gameiro had a shot punched clear after only four minutes, while midway through the first half Pastore had a shot deflected off the post. Diego Lugano had arguably the best strike of the opening period, though his audacious 40-yard drive was touched over the top by Lloris.
The second half was played in much the same manner until the deadlock was broken in innocuous circumstances. Pastore made a strong run down the left channel, and just as it appeared he was ready to cut a pass back, he fired a shot between Lloris and his unguarded near post.
This goal changed the face of the game, which suddenly became a good deal more expansive. With space to counter into, PSG created a number of fine opportunities, but Lloris spread himself superbly to deny Gameiro before Jeremy Menez cracked wide following more good work from Pastore. Gameiro had a second, more difficult, opportunity to put the game to bed, but hooked over after Nene’s industry created the opening.
Lyon were not without a threat in these final, sometimes fraught, minutes. Bafetimbi Gomis missed a glaring chance from a Michel Bastos centre, heading wide from only six yards out, while another terrific centre would narrowly evade two visitors who surely only needed to make contact to score.
In the final minute of the game, the hosts finally tied up the game. Nene's free kick deep to the back post was met by a firm finish from Jallet, who rifled the ball high into the net from close range.
Going into this fixture, PSG led Ligue 1 on behalf of their disciplinary record, but now they’ve opened up a three-point advantage to their nearest rivals, sending a positive signal that they are already a team capable of lifting the French title for the first time since 1994.