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France - Ligue 1
December 16, 2012
• Parc des Princes, Paris
Referee: A. Gautier
• Attendance: 44768
B. Matuidi 45'+
Remi Garde will be disappointed with his side's lack of urgency and creativity in the second half, especially after a bright opening period in which Lisandro Lopez struck a post. Lyon will look to bounce back next Saturday at home against surprise package Nice whilst Paris Saint-Germain will hope to extend their lead with victory away at Brest on Friday evening. That's all from me from the Parc des Princes. Until next time, good night!
It was hardly the slick, fluent affair that we all anticipated but Carlo Ancelotti will have no complaints. His side were sloppy at times, but they were well-organised defensively and secured their seventh clean sheet in nine home league matches. Zlatan Ibrahimovic failed to get his name on the scoresheet and he could be in hot water if the French Football Federation decide to investigate his stamp on Dejan Lovren in the first half which left the Croatian with a small gash on his forehead.
FULL TIME: PARIS SAINT GERMAIN 1 - 0 LYON. Blaise Matuidi's header in the dying seconds of the first half seals a valuable win for Carlo Ancelotti's side as they propel themselves above Lyon to lead Ligue 1. Only goal difference separates PSG, Lyon and Marseille in the race for the title. Remi Garde's team can consider themselves unlucky to go into the half-time break behind after they outplayed the Parisians for large periods of the first half but they struggled to threaten in the second and could have conceded more.
90' + 2'
Into the final minute here and no signs of a Lyon fightback. PSG win a throw deep in the opposition half and they will just look to hold onto possession now.
90' + 1'
ibrahimovic does well to hold off the challenge of Lovren and he sends a teasing cross to the back post which just evades Maxwell. That would have wrapped it up.
Another defensive substitution for Paris Saint-Germain as Sylvain Armand replaces Ezequiel Lavezzi.
Ibrahimovic clearly feels that this game is over and he enjoys a display of showboating on the edge of the Lyon box. Maxwell whips a cross in from the left but Lovren rises above Pastore to head the ball out.
Lyon enjoy a good spell of possession but they just cannot find any space behind this PSG defence. Les Gones look completely out of ideas here.
Carlo Ancelotti looks to shore things up defensively, throwing on Clement Chantone in place of Menez.
Double change for Lyon as they look to rescue a point from this clash. Five minutes remaining.
Menez wins a freekick on the left corner of the penalty box but Ibrahimovic's venomous drive flashes wide of the goal.
Sirigu has been a mere spectator in this second half and he watches again as Gonalons fires a effort from distance well wide of his left-hand post.
Yellow Card Jérémy Menez
Jeremy Menez goes flying under a challenge from Bisevac but the referee adjudges that the winger dived and books him for simulation.
PSG continue to push forward for a second and Javier Pastore slips a neat pass into the path of Ezequiel Lavezzi in the box and the Argentinian looks to lift the ball over Vercoutre but sees it deflect out for a corner.
Jallet has been fantastic for PSG today and he flies down the left wing but his cross to the back post just evades all the blue shirts in the box.
SO CLOSE TO A SECOND! Ibrahimovic's pass is half-cleared to the edge of the box by Lovren where Jallet meets the ball with a fizzing outside-of-the-foot drive which shaves just past the post.
Gueida Fofana sums up the frustration of his side when he unleashes a wild, swerving effort from distance which nearly hits the corner flag.
The PSG defence are excellently organised around the box and Lyon just cannot find a way through. Lisandro Lopez looks to flick Gonalons' pass into the feet of Gomis but the ball runs through for Sirigu.
Christophe Jallet has had Michel Bastos in his pocket all match and the Brazilian has had no luck down this left-hand side. Surely Remi Garde must be thinking of making a change soon.
Yellow Card Salvatore Sirigu
Well, that is just ridiculous! With 17 minutes still to play, Sirigu is cautioned for time-wasting. PSG seem happy to sit back and hold on to their slender advantage.
Both managers are on the touchline barking instructions to their players. Bafetimbi Gomis picks the ball up a long way from goal but his audacious effort swerves well wide.
Menez has been one of the liveliest performers today and he looks to wriggle past Bisevac on the left touchline but is thwarted by a strong challenge. A lack of quality in the final third for both sides at the moment.
Lyon need to inject a little more urgency and pace into their play. It has been a relatively comfortable second half for the PSG defence.
PSG THREATEN AGAIN! The home side work the ball out nicely from left to right and Menez cuts inside onto his left foot but drags an effort wide of the post.
GOOD CHANCE FOR PSG! Ibrahimovic's scooped pass finds Pastore on the edge of the box and with his first touch he nutmegs Bisevac but his strike from an acute angle flashes wide.
Sloppy play from Malbranque. He has time to pick out Gomis in the box but his cross is overhit and runs out for a goalkick.
Remi Garde needs to change something here because his side cannot break down the PSG defence. Sirigu has hardly been tested in this second half and it is the home side who look the more likely to strike again.
Brilliant defending from Umtiti! Menez launches a counterattack for PSG and plays in Lavezzi on the left. The Argentinian looks up and rolls the ball across for Ibrahimovic, who thinks he is about to score, but he is denied by a last-ditch challenge from the 19-year-old left-back.
A patient build-up from Paris Saint-Germain sends Maxwell free down the left wing but his cross is wildly overhit and goes out for a throw.
Yellow Card Dejan Lovren
Dejan Lovren is the next man to be booked after he catches Matuidi with a late lunge.
Fofana finds space to bend the ball on the edge of the box, but his goalbound effort strikes Jallet and goes behind for a corner. From Malbranque's delivery, Fofana rises highest but his header is comfortably saved by Sirigu.
Menez's cheeky backheel forces Gonalons to bring him down 30 yards from goal. With Ibrahimovic over the ball, everyone is predicting him to pull the trigger but he inexplicably passes straight into the Lyon wall.
Lyon need to get Michel Bastos on the ball. The Brazilian has been in good form recently but has struggled to make an impression on this match so far.
Jeremy Menez produces a wonderful piece of skill in the middle of the field to get away from two players and dinks a ball over the top for Ibrahimovic, who looks to round Vercoutre but the goalkeeper executes an important slide tackle to send the ball out for a throw.
Reveillere plays a searching pass over the PSG defence, looking to play in Gomis, but Sakho backpeddles brilliantly to head the ball clear.
The second half is underway. Can Remi Garde's side salvage something from this match?
On second viewing, it does appear that Ibrahimovic deliberately catches Lovren with his studs. The Swedish international can consider himself lucky to have got away with that one.
HALF TIME: PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN 1 - 0 LYON. Despite being second-best for large periods of that first half, it is Carlo Ancelotti's side who head into the break in front courtesy of Matuidi's header. In a game which promised so much, it had not quite lived up to its expectations but perhaps that goal will spur on both sides in the second half. Let me know your views via Twitter @MaxBentley1.
45' + 3'
PSG NEARLY MAKE IT TWO! Lyon look shell-shocked after that goal and Ibrahimovic nearly doubles his side's tally when he collects Pastore's pass on the left-hand side of the box, jinking past Reveillere and forcing a smart stop from Vercoutre. What an end to the half!
45' + 2'
Assist Zlatan Ibrahimovic
45' + 2'
Goal Blaise Matuidi
1-0 PSG!!! They have been outplayed in this first period but they have snatched a vital goal before the break. It all started with Thiago Silva's interception and Zlatan Ibrahimovic picks the ball up outside of the box before clipping in a cross which is deflected into the path of the onrushing Blaise Matuidi who swoops in to head past Vercoutre. Fantastic athleticism and desire shown by the French midfielder. That is his third league goal of the season.
Michel Bastos looks to launch a Lyon attack at the end of the half and he feeds Lisandro Lopez on the left-hand side of the box but Thiago Silva produces a world-class interception to prevent the Argentinian.
Lyon are pressing PSG really high up the pitch and they have worked extremely hard to prevent the Parisian side from forcing an opening. A frustrating opening 45 minutes for Ancelotti.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic looks to play in Ezequiel Lavezzi with a flicked header over the Lyon defence, but Milan Bisevac anticipates the danger expertly and clears.
Tempers flair when Dejan Lovren writhes on the floor after a tussle with Zlatan Ibrahimovic. The Croatian is furious with the Swedish international, who certainly appeared to catch him in the head with his studs.
Carlo Ancelotti will be disappointed with how his side have passed the ball in this first half. They just have not got going! Thiago Motta's backpass is sloppily overhit for a Lyon corner but the away side cannot capitalise.
Yellow Card Thiago Silva
Lisandro Lopez's neat flick sets up Malbranque on the edge of the PSG box, but the midfielder is caught by a studs-up challenge from Thiago Silva. The referee duly brandishes the yellow card.
The Lyon players are demanding a yellow card when Samuel Umtiti goes down under a challenge, clutching his neck. In truth, it was just a coming together between the 19-year-old and Jeremy Menez. Good decision from the referee.
Yellow Card Gueida Fofana
Gueida Fofana is the first player to be cautioned after he catches Ezequiel Lavezzi with a late challenge. The 21-year-old has had a good first half.
Fofana advances from midfield and tees up Malbranque on the edge of the box but the 32-year-old dallies in possession and is dispossessed by Thiago Silva.
Both sides are struggling to link a series of passes together at the moment with neither set of strikers enjoying a sight of goal.
Paris Saint-Germain have been sloppy in possession and Menez gives the ball away again in a promising position. Approaching the half-hour mark, will we see a goal in this first period?
LYON HIT THE POST! That would have been some goal! Gueida Fofana lofts a perfectly-weighted pass over the head of Thiago Silva, where Lisandro Lopez meets it with a brilliant left-footed volley but he watches the ball strike the inside of the post and roll across the goalmouth with Sirigu beaten. So unlucky!
Reveillere bombs forward from right-back again and he tees up Malbranque on the edge of the box, but his curling effort is well blocked by Sakho. The ball comes back for Lopez but his shot is also blocked.
CHANCE FOR LYON! Anthony Reveillere capitalises on a mistake from Sakho and feeds the ball to Gomis in the box, but his toe-poked effort, under pressure from Thiago Silva, is weak and Sirigu comfortably smothers the ball.
Lisandro Lopez looks to send his strike partner Gomis away with a neat slide pass but Thiago Silva gives himself a good starting position and snatches the ball away from the striker. Solid defensive performance from Ancelotti's side so far.
Lyon are struggling to break this PSG defence down at the moment and it is the Parisian side who are on top. Lavezzi looks to play an outside-of-the-foot pass behind the Lyon backline for Ibrahimovic but the ball skids off the wet surface and Vercoutre claims.
Bastos opts for power but his strike hits Jallet on the end of the wall and bounces through for Sirigu to collect.
Lisandro Lopez draws a freekick from Blaise Matuidi roughly 25 yards out. Good opportunity for Bastos' left foot here!
Bafetimbi Gomis tracks back for the corner and his aerial presence proves crucial as he towers above Thiago Silva to clear.
PSG finding their feet now! Jeremy Menez embarks on a lung-busting run and he plays in Christophe Jallet who is overlapping on the wing. The right-back looks for the run of Ibrahimovic in the box but Lovren is across well to turn the ball behind.
Lyon clear the initial corner but as the ball comes out to the edge of the box, Lavezzi tries his luck but sees his effort well saved by Vercoutre.
Great save from Vercoutre! Javier Pastore plays the ball to Zlatan Ibrahimovic on the edge of the box and the Swedish striker plays a wonderfully-disguised reverse pass back to the Argentinian, whose effort is tipped around the post by the Lyon goalkeeper. Best highlight of the game so far!
PSG counterattack and Ezequiel Lavezzi looks to play in Jeremy Menez, but his shot ricochets out for a corner. The set-piece is whipped in and Milan Bivesac and Mamodou Sakho suffer an unfortunate clash of heads. Physios on.
Lyon are looking very comfortable on the ball at present and it is Remi Garde's side who are probing early on. Bafetimibi Gomis looks to trick his way past Sakho but the defender stays strong to dispossess him.
Lisandro Lopez is the first to try his luck, bundling his way past two defenders before his strike is deflected behind for a corner. From the resulting set-piece, Mamodou Sakho rises highest to clear.
Blaise Matuidi is looking to stick close to Steed Malbranque every time he gets the ball. Carlo Ancelotti is obviously looking to prevent the 32-year-old from getting on the ball. He already has six assists this season.
PSG enjoy a good spell of their own but neither side has yet to muster an effort on goal. Who will strike first?
Zlatan Ibrahimovic looks to send Jeremy Menez away with a first-time pass but the French winger had strayed just offside.
Confident start from the away side who enjoy a neat spell of possession early on. Carlo Ancelotti's side are yet to touch the ball.
Lyon are set to get this match underway. Can they maintain their position at the head of the Ligue 1 table?
Carlo Ancelotti lost his first game for PSG against Lyon in a 3-1 home defeat in the Coupe de France back in March. The players emerge from the tunnels and there is a fantastic atmosphere here at the Parc des Princes. Get ready!
Lyon have not won away at Paris Saint-Germain in the league five years. Can they end that run tonight? Let me know your views via Twitter @MaxBentley1.
Paris Saint-Germain have kept six clean sheets in their last eight home league matches but Lyon have only lost once on their last ten league travels. Who will seal the valuable three points tonight?
Remi Garde has a multitude of injury concerns as Jimmy Briand has a hamstring problem, while Clement Grenier, Alexandre Lacazette and Yoann Gourcuff have failed to recover from knocks. Mouhamadou Dabo is still suspended after being sent-off against Saint-Etienne.
Carlo Ancelotti is forced to make one change from the side which thumped Valenciennes 4-0 in midweek, with Mamadou Sakho replacing Alex who sustained a thigh injury in that match.
Lyon (4-3-3): Vercoutre; Reveillere, Bisevac, Lovren, Umtiti; Fofana, Malbranque, Gonalons; Bastos, Gomis, Lopez.
Paris Saint-Germain (4-2-3-1): Sirigu; Maxwell, Thiago Silva, Sakho, Jallet; Matuidi, Motta; Menez, Pastore, Lavezzi; Ibrahimovic.
Here are tonight's lineups...
However, Lyon have dangermen of their own and the resurgence of Steed Malbranque has been one of the highlights of their impressive campaign. Bafetimbi Gomis has ten league goals to his name whilst Michel Bastos has scored in his last two. It's sure to be a thriller!
Paris Saint-Germain have won nine of their last eleven matches at home in all competitions and with Javier Pastore finding his way back to form, Carlo Ancelotti's side go into this match knowing that only three points will suffice. And of course, how can we forget Zlatan Ibrahimovic? The Swedish international leads the Ligue 1 goalscoring charts with 17 goals from 14 appearances. If Lyon are to take anything from this match, they will need to keep the big man quiet!
One of the hottest matches on the Ligue 1 calendar is set to take place tonight as two of the division's heavyweights go head-to-head. Big-spending Paris Saint-Germain, many people's favourites for the title, have shown their quality at times this season, but it is Remi Garde's Lyon who have taken all the plaudits and they sit at the top of the league table, three points ahead of Carlo Ancelotti's side. From the Parc des Princes, my name is Max Bentley and I will keep you up-to-date with all the action as it unfolds in this top-of-the-table clash. Feel free to let me know your thoughts and predictions on the match via Twitter @MaxBentley1.
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