Sissoko may have been dismissed for the hosts, but they were able to frustrate Didier Deschamps' men to remain in touch with Montpellier at the summit of Ligue 1Paris Saint-Germain redeemed themselves after recent troubles, defeating great rivals Olympique de Marseille 2-1 at Parc des Princes to reignite their Ligue 1 title challenge.
Carlo Ancelotti’s side opened the scoring after five minutes as Jeremy Menez reacted well in the box to steer home a left-footed shot, but they would be put under increasing pressure from their guests as the first half wore on.
Half time didn’t change the momentum of the fixture, and midway through the second period Andre Ayew levelled matters with a header. A mere 30 seconds later, PSG were back in the driving seat, with Alex’s accurate header beating Steve Mandanda. Mohamed Sissoko was sent off late on, but the hosts held out.
There is no love between these outfits, and that was abundantly clear in the opening 20 minutes, which was constantly punctuated by fouls. Somewhere amongst the seemingly endless stoppages, the hosts managed to move into the lead. Maxwell’s cross from the left was knocked back across goal by Christophe Jallet, and Menez steered the ball into the corner of the net.
It took the game nearly half an hour to settle down, but it was Marseille who emerged as the dominant side once a pattern was established. Chances, though, were at a premium. They threatened regularly from set pieces, but too often the target was missed, with Stephane Mbia particularly culpable in this regard.
Occasional surges from Ayew posed the hosts problems, creating chances for Morgan Amalfitano and then Alou Diarra, whose seemingly goalbound effort was deflected over by Alex, as Marseille increased the pressure towards the break.
Although Didier Deschamps’ men remained in control after the interval, they continued to struggle for offensive inspiration. Their sheer weight of possession suggested a goal could arrive, though, and it did just before the hour mark. Inevitably it came from a crossed ball, with Loic Remy heading back across goal for Ayew to convert unmarked from six yards.
The momentum seemed to be with the guests, but PSG quickly won a corner at the other end of the field. Nene delivered excellently, and Alex’s fine header kissed the far post as it made its way into Mandanda’s net.
In a rather frenetic finish, PSG attempted to hit their opponents on the counterattack while Marseille increasingly pushed players forward to no avail. Salvatore Sirigu made a great reaction block from a Brandao header, and moments later Benoit Cheyrou scooped a shot horribly over the top when he probably should have scored, missing OM’s last great chance.
Sissoko's red card for a second yellow card gave the visitors some late hope, but they would not threaten the home goal again.
As well as defeating their fiercest rivals, Ancelotti’s side have the joy of moving back level on points with Montpellier at the summit of Le Championnat, and on Wednesday they’ll be hoping Marseille can end their barren run of form by defeating Rene Girard’s men at Stade Velodrome in a delayed match from round 30.