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France - Ligue 1
August 8, 2014
• Stade Auguste-Delaune II, Reims
Referee: S. Lannoy
• Attendance: 18540
P. Oniangué 22'
A. Devaux 34'
Z. Ibrahimovic 7', 63'
What a thrilling start to the Ligue 1 season! Thanks for joining me on this live commentary - enjoy the rest of the football action over the weekend and make sure to come back soon!
FT: Reims 2-2 Paris Saint-Germain. The French champions are denied a win on the opening day of the season for a fourth consecutive campaign. Zlatan Ibrahimovic gave Laurent Blanc's side the lead with a cool finish before spurning a first-half penalty. Goals from Prince Oniangue and Antoine Devaux completed an unlikely turnaround for the hosts but PSG emerged with a share of the spoils after Johnny Placide fumbled Ibrahimovic's cross into his own net. PSG laid siege to the Reims goal in search of a late winner but the hosts battled valiantly to earn Jean-Luc Vasseur a valuable point in his first match in charge.
90' + 4'
REIMS CLEAR THE BALL OFF THE LINE TWICE! PSG go desperately close to grabbing a late winner as Chantome sees his low shot shuffled away by Tacalfred before Ibrahimovic's header somehow evades Cavani and is hacked to safety by Mandi at the back post. Reims somehow survive!
90' + 2'
Reims have all their players defending deep inside their own half at the moment and the crowd let out a huge cheer as Placide plucks Thiago Silva's long punt out of the air. Only two minutes remaining!
90' + 1'
CAVANI GOES CLOSE! The Uruguayan striker meets Motta's corner with a glancing header at the front post. However, his effort cannot test Placide as the ball goes straight into the side netting. It's been a rather frustrating night for Cavani. We have three minutes of stoppage time remaining.
Devaux has already scored once today but he cannot find a late winner for Reims as his ambitious half volley from the edge of the box skews well wide of the target.
Yellow Card Jean-Christophe Bahebeck
Bahebeck has struggled to make an impression since coming on for PSG and he picks up the second yellow card of the game after a reckless challenge on Signorino. Time is running out for Laurent Blanc's side.
Laurent Blanc opts to make his second change of the game, introducing talented midfielder Chantome in place of Verratti. Can the youngster make the difference in the closing minutes?
It's been a real Jekyll and Hyde performance from Ibrahimovic today and he is denied a late winner as Placide rushes off his line excellently to prevent the Swedish striker from converting Motta's lofted pass.
Oniangue has been tremendous in the Reims midfield and he wins an important free kick for the hosts as they attempt to relieve the pressure on their goal.
Vasseur opts to make his final change of the game, bringing on defender Glombard in place of Diego. Can Reims hold onto a valuable point?
With the clock ticking into the final ten minutes, both teams are showing visible signs of fatigue. Will someone pop up with a moment of magic to claim all three points in this contest? Remember that PSG have not won their opening Ligue 1 fixture for the past three seasons.
It's all hands to the pump for Reims at the moment as they defend desperately to prevent PSG finding a winner. Cavani finds his route to the goal blocked by a sea of red shirts before Bahebeck is denied excellently by Signorino.
Pastore tries to take matters into his own hands as he surges past Oniangue and towards the Reims box. However, he cannot produce the finish to match, blazing his shot high over the crossbar. Laurent Blanc looks on anxiously on the touchline.
Pastore once again shows his vision to pick out Cavani smartly on the left-hand side of the box but PSG are denied a third goal as Mandi produces a crucial block to prevent the Uruguayan's cross finding a blue shirt in the middle.
Yellow Card Marco Verratti
Verratti picks up the first yellow card of the new Ligue 1 season as he cynically brings down Courtet on a Reims counterattack. He can have no complaints about that one.
Lucas Moura has been disappointing for the French champions today and Laurent Blanc makes his first change, introducing youngster Bahebeck, who impressed in the 2-0 win over Guingamp.
CHANCE FOR PASTORE! The Argentine has played a large part in both PSG goals today but he fails to give Laurent Blanc's side the lead here as he heads Van Der Wiel's inviting cross inches past the post. He should have done better.
Mads Winther Albæk
The Reims players are beginning to look a little fatigued and Vasseur makes his first changes, introducing Courtet and Ca in place of Charbonnier and Albaek.
Ibrahimovic lines up a free kick from distance but he cannot give PSG the lead as his fizzing effort dips narrowly over the crossbar. Are Laurent Blanc's side going to find a winner or will Reims hold out?
Assist Javier Pastore
Goal Zlatan Ibrahimovic
PSG EQUALISE! Pastore is the architect again as he clips a clever ball over the top of the Reims defence for Ibrahimovic. The enigmatic striker lofts the ball towards the back post for Cavani but Placide gets his bearings all wrong and flaps the ball into his own net. He won't want to see the replays of that one!
Reims are fighting for their lives at the moment and Signorino produces a crucial header to prevent Cavani nodding in Digne's cross before Lucas is denied on the edge of the box. PSG only lost three league games throughout the whole of last season. Are they going to lose their first one today? What a start it would be for Jean-Luc Vasseur in his first-ever top flight game.
Lucas has struggled to get involved in the second half for PSG but on this occasion he does well to pick out Ibrahimovic in the middle, who brings the ball down excellently before it is pinched off his toes at the last moment by Bourillon. Can Reims hold on?
STAT: PSG have not won an opening away match in the French league in 18 years, since a 1-0 victory against Strasbourg in 1996.
The referee gets his spray can out as Ibrahimovic lines up a free kick from distance. However, the Swedish striker is once again left frustrated as his powerful effort is well blocked by Oniangue in the Reims wall.
Sirigu has hardly been tested in this match so far but he produces a fine save on this occasion as he parries Diego's deflected strike from the edge of the box. PSG need to be careful that they do not commit too many bodies forward here as a third goal could prove the final nail in the coffin.
It's all PSG at the beginning of the second half but Reims are growing in confidence every time they deny the French champions. Ibrahimovic holds the ball up excellently before playing in Digne down the left. However, his fierce low cross is well deflected behind Oniangue, denying Cavani in the middle.
Cavani has struggled to show the best of his abilities in this game so far and he is caught offside by the Reims backline who had been carved open by Pastore's clever through ball. The Uruguayan did not hear the whistle but still could not beat Placide, firing the ball into the goalkeeper's midriff.
The PSG players are clearly not happy with their first-half display and Verratti sums up their frustration when he goes down under a rough challenge from Albaek. The referee has been lenient in this game so far however and he refuses to brandish the match's first card.
The teams re-emerge from the tunnel for the second half and PSG get the game back underway. Can they do the unthinkable and lose their opening match of the season? Let's find out...
HT: Reims 2-1 Paris Saint-Germain. What a thrilling first 45 minutes of the new Ligue 1 season. Zlatan Ibrahimovic gave PSG the perfect start when he coolly slotted home Javier Pastore's pass after just seven minutes and the French champions should have extended their lead further when Lucas Moura spurned a guilt-edged chance before Ibrahimovic saw his penalty saved by Johnny Placide. That profligacy ultimately proved costly for Laurent Blanc's side as Prince Oniangue levelled the scores when he poked home Diego's teasing free kick before Antoine Devaux completed the turnaround with a fantastic piece of perseverance. It's all set up to be a brilliant second half.
Placide has certainly been one of Reims' heroes in the first half after his penalty save but he nearly gifts PSG an equaliser as he flaps at a cross before watching on anxiously as Cavani's sliced shot is headed off the line. Let-off for the Reims goalkeeper!
Reims suddenly look a lot more solid defensively and Albaek makes a good interception to prevent Pastore's pass from reaching Ibrahimovic.
Reims have only Charbonnier in the PSG half at the moment as they look to sit back and hold onto their lead until the half-time whistle. PSG have enjoyed 67% of the possession so far, but with their opponents retreating deeper, they are finding it difficult to penetrate through the middle.
Blanc's decision to rush Thiago Silva back into the starting lineup does not appear to have paid dividends so far and the Brazilian centre-back certainly appears to be suffering from a World Cup hangover. The Reims fans are loving every moment of this however and continue to chant loudly in the stands.
Laurent Blanc will be absolutely furious with his players. PSG dominated the opening 20 minutes and should have been out of sight, with Lucas and Ibrahimovic both culpable of spurning glorious opportunities. Can they find an equaliser before the break?
Assist Gaetan Charbonnier
Goal Antoine Devaux
DEVAUX MAKES IT 2-1! PSG look absolutely shellshocked as the hosts complete a remarkable turnaround. Devaux starts the move as he drives forward from midfield before slipping in Charbonnier on the right and continuing his run into the middle. With Verratti struggling to track back, Charbonnier reverses the ball back into Devaux's path and he pokes the ball beyond the advancing Sirigu and into the net. Incredible scenes.
Ibrahimovic is beginning to cut a frustrated figure as he once again sloppily concedes possession. Lucas Moura can certainly expect to have an earful at the half-time interval after he failed to gift Ibrahimovic that earlier chance.
Reims have decided to drop deeper in the past couple of minutes and they are inviting PSG onto them. Thiago Motta attempts to lift a ball over the defence for Ibrahimovic to chase but Placide rushes off his line quickly to crucially pluck the ball out of the air.
STAT: Zlatan Ibrahimovic has missed his last two penalties for PSG in Ligue 1 after having converted his previous 11 (Opta).
PSG are looking vulnerable from set-pieces at the moment and Marquinhos does well to prevent a red shirt from meeting Diego's deep cross towards the back post. Charbonnier then looks to turn the ball in from the edge of the box, but Thiago Silva is there to make a crucial interception.
PSG look to provide an instant response as Pastore drives forward from midfield once again. The Argentine finds Cavani with a clever pass on the left corner of the box but he can only blaze his shot high over the bar.
Goal Prince Oniangue
REIMS MAKES IT 1-1! Football is a funny old game, isn't it? The hosts have been completely dominated in the opening 20 minutes of this game but they grab an equaliser as Diego's excellent free kick from the left is diverted home by the shin of Oniangue. What a start to the Ligue 1 season!
Penalty save Johny Placide
PLACIDE SAVES! It's been a disappointing couple of minutes for Ibrahimovic as his spot kick is comfortably saved by Placide, who guessed the right way. PSG should already have this game wrapped up. Will they miss these rued chances?
Missed Penalty Zlatan Ibrahimovic
PENALTY TO PSG! The Reims defence are all at sea once again and Ibrahimovic wins a spot kick as he is clumsily tripped by Tacalfred inside the box.
IBRAHIMOVIC HITS THE POST! The Reims midfield is non-existent and Verratti shows his quick feet to spin away from the defence and burst towards goal. The Italian unselfishly squares the ball to Ibrahimovic inside the box, but the striker inexplicably strikes the ball against the post with the goal gaping. How did he miss?
IT SHOULD BE 2-0! PSG carve open the Reims defence all too easily and Lucas gets in behind Signorino on the right-hand side of the box. He has Ibrahimovic unmarked in the middle but selfishly decides to try and round Placide, only to have the ball pinched off his toes by the goalkeeper.
Pastore has enjoyed a lively start to the game and he waltzes beyond several Reims defenders before slipping a neat pass out to Digne on the left side of the box. The France international once again finds himself in acres of room and he fizzes a dangerous ball across the goalmouth which Placide does well to punch to safety.
Digne is enjoying plenty of room down the left for PSG and they are looking rather comfortable now after taking an early lead. Can Reims muster a response?
Reims look to respond immediately with Oniangue powerfully bursting his way into the PSG box. The ball comes out to Fortes on the right who fires a dangerous low cross towards the penalty spot but Motta is there to bravely throw himself in front of Charbonnier's shot. Great defending from the Italy international.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic will be aiming to be crowned top scorer in Ligue 1 for a third consecutive season, a feat unmatched since Jean-Pierre Papin who claimed the accolade for five successive campaigns between 1988 and 1992.
Assist Javier Pastore
Goal Zlatan Ibrahimovic
PSG TAKE THE LEAD! It's taken the French champions only seven minutes to stamp their mark on the new Ligue 1 campaign and it's that man, Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Pastore is the architect as he dispossesses Albaek all too easily in the midfield before slipping a neat ball behind the Reims defence for Ibrahimovic, who coolly slots the ball under the advancing Placide. He's up and running for the new season.
CAVANI FIRES WIDE! Ibrahimovic is operating in a slightly deeper role in the opening exchanges and he splits open the Reims defence with a precise pass down the left. Cavani takes the ball excellently in his stride but he cannot provide the finishing touch as he screws his shot across the face of goal and out for a goal kick.
PSG enjoyed the bragging rights when these two sides met on both occasions in the league last season, winning both matches 3-0.
It's been a lively start here as Charbonnier almost takes advantage of a slip from Marquinhos but the Brazilian defender recovers well with a last-ditch challenge. PSG then attack straight down the other end but Signorino does just enough to prevent Lucas from converting Digne's teasing low cross towards the back post.
The referee blows his whistle and Reims, in their traditional red jerseys, get the 2014/15 Ligue 1 campaign underway. Can they get off to a winning start?
The two clubs emerge from the tunnel to a great reception from both sets of fans. It's a rainy night in Reims but the players look raring to go as captains Tacalfred and Thiago Silva begin the respective handshakes.
Another man who is not in the Paris Saint-Germain lineup today is Angel Di Maria. The French champions have been strongly linked with a move for the Real Madrid midfielder but PSG owner Nasser Al Khelaifi told media yesterday that the player was too expensive and not feasible as a result of UEFA Financial Fair Play regulations. I suspect we haven't heard the end of that one...
PSG XI (4-3-3): Sirigu; Van der Wiel, Thiago Silva, Marquinhos, Digne; Verratti, Motta, Pastore; Lucas, Ibrahimovic, Cavani.
PSG TEAM NEWS: Laurent Blanc makes three changes to the side which beat Guingamp 2-0 in the Trophee des Champions six days ago as Thiago Silva returns to take the armband in the centre of defence alongside Marquinhos. Edinson Cavani and Lucas Moura are also recalled to the starting XI, with Zoumana Camara, Hervin Ongenda and Jean-Christophe Bahebeck dropping out. New signing Serge Aurier is only fit enough for the bench, meaning that Gregory van der Wiel continues at right-back, while David Luiz is not in the matchday squad.
REIMS XI (4-3-3): Placide; Mandi, Tacalfred, Bourillon, Signorino; Devaux, Albaek, Oniangue; Fortes, Charbonnier, Diego.
REIMS TEAM NEWS: Ex-PSG man Gregory Bourillon makes his debut after signing from Lorient while Johnny Placide is preferred to Kossi Agassa in goal. Another familiar face in the Reims lineup for PSG fans is Gaetan Charbonnier who starts in attack alongside Odair Fortes and Diego. Anthony Weber, Alexis Peuget and Yann Benedick are all still recovering from cruciate ligament problems but Mickael Tacalfred has shaken off his injury concerns to take the armband and start in the centre of defence. New signing Benjamin Moukandjo is suspended.
While Paris Saint-Germain have been busy strengthening their ranks this summer with the arrivals of Brazil centre-back David Luiz in a whopping £50 million deal from Chelsea and Ivory Coast star Serge Aurier on loan from Toulouse, it's been a rather different story for Reims. Having lost coach Hubert Fournier to Lyon, they have hired Jean-Luc Vasseur from Creteil, a man who spent six years playing for PSG. However, the most noticeable absentee for Reims is Polish midfielder Grzegorz Krychowiak who recently signed for Seville. Can Reims improve on their 11th-place finish from last season? It's going to be tricky.
Laurent Blanc's men are heavily expected to win a third consecutive French title this season but Reims will be determined to make it a difficult start at the Stade Auguste Delaune today. In fact, PSG have failed to win their opening league game in each of the last three seasons, drawing 1-1 at Montpellier in last year's opener.
The wait is finally over! After 83 days, a thrilling World Cup and plenty of summer transfer activity, Ligue 1 football is back. And what better way to start the 2014/15 campaign than with the reigning champions Paris Saint-Germain who make the short trip north-east to face Stade de Reims. Laurent Blanc's side have already wrapped up the Trophee des Champions with a 2-0 win over Guingamp and they will be hoping that is the first piece of silverware of many this season.
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