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February 14, 2014
• Parc des Princes, Paris
Referee: S. Desiage
• Attendance: 45727
E. Lavezzi 18'
Z. Ibrahimovic 50'
G. Kagelmacher 52' (own goal)
That is it from me, Tom Webber, for this evening. I hope you enjoy the rest of your night.
FULL TIME - PSG 3-0 Valenciennes: After Lavezzi gave the hosts a slender first-half lead, a quickfire double shortly after the restart through Ibrahimovic and a Kagelmacher own goal secured all the points for les Parisiens. Laurent Blanc's men thus open up an eight-point advantage over Monaco, who travel to Bastia tomorrow. For Valenciennes, their relegation fight continues.
90' + 2'
There is the final whistle!
90' + 1'
We are into the first of an additional two minutes of added time.
Pastore gives away possession in a dangerous area and Valenciennes send the ball into the middle where Ducourtioux attempts to scissor kick a shot at goal. We all wanted to see that, but his connection was poor and the effort practically goes nowhere.
STAT: Alongside Reims, Valenciennes have conceded the most own goals in Ligue 1 this season with three strikes into their own net.
Super challenge! Lucas is released with a long ball over the top but as he moves into the area, Ciss slides in and takes it off of his toe to divert play out for a throw on the far side.
Verratti has not been on the pitch that long but he has come in for a fair few knocks due to his quick passing and clever movement. PSG try to take a quick one and put Menez in behind but the winger is unable to forge a meaningful effort from the move.
The game is becoming a bit too direct now with les Parisiens pinging a number of hopeful long balls over the top rather than passing through the middle. It is not the best idea when you do not have a target man up top.
Abdul Majeed Waris
Valenciennes are still pressing very high and credit should go to them for that, but they are not doing it with enough intensity so PSG are able to hold possession fairly easily. It also leaves them more exposed than they would like at the back.
Cabaye puts in a rather strong challenge on Ducourtioux and the Valenciennes man stays down. PSG eventually put the ball out of play and the midfielder gets back to his feet, but the referee has some words for the former Newcastle United man.
It is a bit of a shame that the tempo has died off since the hour mark. Lucas Moura, who has already earned eight assists this season, has been unable to really make a mark on the match.
Doumbia picks up the ball in midfield and strides forward purposefully. He gets into shooting range so looses an effort on goal which takes a nick and goes out for a corner.
Waris has worked very hard up top for the visitors and once more he does impressively to open up space for a shot. Tiredness may be setting in though, as he drags his shot harmlessly wide of the target.
Ironic cheers go up as Doumbia attempts to flick on a clearance from Penneteau with his heel but completely misses the ball. PSG counter and Lavezzi is almost picked out in the middle, but the cross is too high for him.
Eloge Enza Yamissi
Marco da Silva
WHAT A CHANCE! Menez in plenty of space in the centre, 20 yards out, and opts to go for goal even though Lucas is completely clear to his right. He fires it down the middle and Kagelmacher flings a leg out to make an important block.
Yellow Card Thiago Silva
A booking for Thiago Silva as the Brazilian pulls back Waris after the Ghanaian had well and truly beaten him down on the near side. Lovely footwork from the Valenciennes man.
Rabiot's first action after being introduced is to ping an exquisite diagonal pass up to Digne but it is just too far ahead of the left-back for him to bring it under control effectively. Great vision nonetheless.
Ibrahimovic makes way to be replaced by Lucas Moura. The Swede is applauded by Brazil legend Ronaldo who watches on from the stands. An important rest for the striker head of Champions League action in midweek.
Lavezzi looks to break into the area but is adjudged to have used his hand to control the ball.
Valenciennes are enjoying some good spells on the ball inside the PSG half at the moment but its another effort from Doumbia which calls Sirigu into action. Again, though, the keeper barely has to move in order to make the save.
Good strike! Ducourtioux finds space on the edge of the box and releases a decent effort, however he puts it too close to Sirigu and the keeper gets his body in the way and makes a comfortable save.
Well, PSG have come bursting out the blocks in the second half and Valenciennes have looked utterly flustered. They are being far too sloppy with possession, particularly inside their own half, and have been playing into their hosts' hands since the break.
Not good enough from Lavezzi there! The Argentine was put through by a lovely through-ball from Ibrahimovic, but his cheeky attempt to dink the ball over Penneteau was foiled as the keeper stayed on his feet and batted the ball away.
Woeful from Menez! PSG counter at pace but with Ibrahimovic bursting into space on the far side the Frenchman holds onto the ball for too long before playing an awful pass straight into the arms of Penneteau.
STAT: PSG have won seven of their last eight meetings with Valenciennes in all competitions. It looks like their well on their way to making it eight from nine, now.
Own Goal G. Kagelmacher
GOOOOOAL! PSG LEAD 3-0! Lavezzi was released down the left and his electric pace saw him carry the ball to the byeline inside the area. Penneteau came across and he squeezed a square cross into the middle which Kagelmacher inadvertently turned in to his own goal.
Assist Yohan Cabaye
Goal Zlatan Ibrahimovic
GOOOOOOOAL! Ibrahimovic nets his 19th Ligue 1 goal of the season! The Swede was left in acres of space in the centre of the box and he found the back of the net from Menez's hashed shot with a volley into the ground.
SIRIGU HAS TO DO SOMETHING! Waris rolls the ball back to Masuaku, whose deflected cross is punched well out of the danger area by the keeper. His first real involvement of the game.
Valenciennes get the ball rolling for the second half.
Welcome back! The players are making their way back out onto the pitch so the second half will begin shortly.
With just one goal in it the visitors certainly cannot be counted out of this one. Join me in 15 minutes for the second half.
HALF TIME - PSG 1-0 Valenciennes: Laurent Blanc's men have dominated proceedings so far, with the visitors looking particularly shaky at the back. A goal from Ezequiel Lavezzi is currently the difference, but les Parisiens arguably should have had a couple more. Part of the credit for the scoreline remaining close belongs to Nicolas Penneteau, though, who has made a number of great saves.
45' + 1'
The referee bring the first half to a close after one minute of added time.
Masuaku makes another nice run down the left and squares a good low ball into the area but no one is able to add the finishing touch from close range. The visitors are ending the half fairly well.
Excellent work from Menez, dancing into the area from the right and working his way between three white shirts. He goes to pull the trigger but Kagelmacher dives in to make an important block.
I reserve the right to eat those words later, by the way.
Menez races down to the byeline and cuts a cross back for Cabaye, however the midfielder's shot is blocked en route to goal. PSG really should have added to their tally by now, but in all truth Ibrahimovic hasn't looked his clinical self up top so far tonight.
Another chance for the visitors to break but Waris' pass up to Pujol is poor and Thiago Silva is able to mop it up comfortably.
Things aren't quite going Ibrahimovic's way this evening. The striker readys himself to connect with Digne's cross before Ciss intercepts, and then commits a foul in his attempts to beat Medjani to the next ball into the box.
Gregory Pujol comes on to replace Melikson. The striker is les Atheniens' top scorer in the league this season with four strikes to his name.
Brave keeping from Penneteau! The Valenciennes stopper raced off his line as Ibrahimovic controlled a pass over the top on his chest and beat the Swede to the second ball. He spilled it initially but was quick to react and gather at the second attempt.
Maybe Melikson will not be able to continue! The Israeli has just walked down the tunnel so it looks like he is going to be replaced.
Ouch! Melikson has to go off and get some treatment as he gets a scrape on the knee which draws blood. He'll get that tidied up but should be fine to continue.
SO CLOSE! Valenciennes almost steal an equaliser as Marquinhos only heads Masuaku's cross as far as Ducourtioux on the edge of the box. He controls with his chest but drags his shot well wide of the target. Waris stretched to get a touch on it but he was unable to convert. A real let off for the hosts.
STAT: Blanc's men have conceded just five goals in their 12 home fixtures this season, keeping eight clean sheets along the way.
Not the best effort from Ibrahimovic, there. He seemed caught in two minds and sent a rather tame effort straight into the arms of the keeper.
Valenciennes finally have a chance to break and they catch PSG in a two-on-two situation. Marquinhos does superbly, though, standing up Waris and forcing him out to the right where the Ghanaian eventually runs out of room.
JUST WIDE!! Mater is having a nightmare as again he shows a lack of awareness to let Digne run in behind him. The young left-back attempts to pick out the far corner but his low effort flashes wide of the far post and he pounds the ground with his fist.
TOP SAVE!! Cabaye dispossesses Mater on the right and feeds Ibrahimovic. The Swede quickly feeds Lavezzi but his near-post effort is palmed behind for a corner by Penneteau. Ibra certainly was not happy about that! He feels he should have received a cutback from the Argentine.
Both Motta and Cabaye are sitting rather deep when in possession, meaning Digne and Van der Wiel have plenty of freedom to push on and practically play as secondary wingers. One sloppy pass and Valenciennes could exploit the huge gaps left in the wide areas, but PSG are very composed on the ball at the moment.
LAVEZZI! He could have had a second! Van der Wiel makes a blistering run to overlap Menez and he then whips in a great low ball. Lavezzi meets it at the near post but under pressure from Medjani he is unable to guide it on target.
Goal Ezequiel Lavezzi
GOOOOOOOAAL! LAVEZZI! Ibrahimovic fires a 30-yard free kick straight into the wall but the rebound falls kindly for the Argentine, and he slots an instinctive finish past the keeper to open the scoring.
When they have the ball, Valenciennes are managing to show a certain degree of composure. But possession is lost as Mater attempts to swtich the play from right to left and asks too much of Masuaku who is unable to keep it in.
PSG are being afforded far to much time on the ball at the moment. Ibrahimovic drops deep to receive a pass from Cabaye and he instantly attempts to angle it out to Menez on the right. However, his pass is intercepted by Ciss.
STAT: Les Parisiens have scored at least two goals in their past nine outings at the Parc des Princes.
Good defending from Kagelmacher! The centre-back tracked the run of Lavezzi as he received the ball from Pastore inside the box and managed to get a foot to it, clearing away the danger as quickly as it had begun.
GREAT SAVE! Thiago Silva connects with a cross in the centre of the box and aims a bullet header towards Penneteau's goal. The keeper reacts well, brilliantly clawing the ball aside and neither Ibrahimovic or Marquinhos can find the net on the follow-up.
FACE BLOCK! That may have hurt, but Ciss will just be glad he managed to keep that effort from Lavezzi out. Valenciennes really struggling early on here.
Masuaku proves his worth on the left, dribbling down the wing and forcing the PSG players to back off as he shifts the ball astutely. Eventually he shows too much of it to Van der Wiel, and the Dutchman gets a foot to it, sending it out of play for a throw.
OFF THE LINE! Lavezzi is played in behind the defence on the left and Penneteau comes off his line to meet him. The Argentine lifts the ball over him and Ibrahimovic flicks it towards the open goal. Kagelmacher chases back and just about manages to clear it off the line, though he nearly sent it straight into his own net.
PSG have settled straight onto the ball and are instantly putting the visitors under pressure. It is clear that Jacobs' men will form a defensive five when not on the ball, which he will surely hope will enable them to keep out the wingers while not leaving Ibrahimovic unoccupied.
We are underway in Paris!
The two sides are making their way out onto the pitch at Parc des Princes now, so kick off will be upon us imminently. Can PSG open up an eight-point advantage over Monaco tonight?
Valenciennes' last victory at the Parc des Princes came over seven years ago, in January 2007. However, they did defeat PSG in the penultimate game of the 2008-09 - a result which contributed to an end of season collapse that saw European qualification slip from les Parisiens' grasp.
Ariel Jacobs makes just one change to the team which defeated Nice 2-1 last weekend, as Gregory Pujol is replaced by Saliou Ciss in a rather defensive move. It is perhaps unsurprising, given Valenciennes haven't kept a clean sheet in their last 23 Ligue 1 outings.
Edinson Cavani is still absent for the hosts due to a thigh injury, but in Ibrahimovic PSG still have the highest-scoring player in Ligue 1 with 18 goals. The Swede has also supplied nine assists, meaning he has contributed to more goals himself than the whole of the Valenciennes squad have scored, which is a total of 24.
So, despite Ibrahimovic being in discomfort following the draw with Monaco, and also with the Champions League meeting with Bayer Leverkusen coming up on Tuesday, the towering Swede starts. Laurent Blanc still makes five changes to the team he fielded in the principality, with Yohan Cabaye being awarded a full debut. Lucas Moura, meanwhile, begins the game from the bench.
Valenciennes substitutes: Novaes, Angoua, Nery, Da Silva, Bahebeck, Dossevi, Pujol.
Valenciennes (3-5-2): Penneteau; Medjani, Kagelmacher, Ciss; Mater, Ducourtioux, Enza-Yamissi, Doumbia, Masuaku; Melikson, Waris.
PSG substitutes: Douchez, Alex, Maxwell, Matuidi, Verratti, Rabiot, Lucas.
PSG (4-3-3): Sirigu; Van der Wiel, Marquinhos, Thiago Silva, Digne; Cabaye, Motta, Pastore; Menez, Ibrahimovic, Lavezzi.
in what I am sure he would consider a Valentine's Day gift to people across the globe, Zlatan Ibrahimovic starts for les Parisiens this evening! Full line-ups on their way to you now.
PSG are undefeated in their last 24 home matches in Ligue 1 and they come up against a Valenciennes outfit finding life diffult way from their own turf. They have won just twice on the road this season, though one of those was a shock victory against title-chasing Monaco in December.
Hello and welcome to tonight's LIVE play-by-play commentary as Ligue 1 leaders Paris Saint-Germain take on struggling Valenciennes. Neither of these two sides has taken part in a 0-0 draw in their respective league campaigns this season, which means one thing: goals! My name is Tom Webber and I will be your guide through all the action this evening.
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