Paris Saint-Germain could win the Ligue 1 title next weekend after the club defeated Evian 1-0 at Parc des Sports in Annecy on Sunday night.
A solitary goal from Javier Pastore early in the second period was sufficient for Carlo Ancelotti’s side to take another step towards the crown, though this was a match in which both sides missed some excellent chances and the visiting team finished with nine men following dismissals for Marco Verratti and David Beckham.
The decisive blow came after a first period in which PSG had fashioned some good openings without being particularly inspired. Pastore’s goal was therefore a little out of character for the match to that point as it involved a lovely flowing move that started with Jeremy Menez and ended when the Argentine bent a fine shot into the net from the edge of the box after a clever square pass from Christophe Jallet.
To that point, Zlatan Ibrahimovic had enjoyed PSG's best moments but had failed to find the net. After only four minutes he was denied by Bertrand Laquait, but it would be sneaking in at the back post following a free kick that the Swede really forced the goalkeeper to excel.
Late in the opening period the former AC Milan forward worked a good opening for Ezequiel Lavezzi, who struck his effort just wide.
It was shortly after opening the scoring that PSG enjoyed its best moments, though. From a Menez cross Verratti would scramble an effort against the bar before Ibrahimovic hit the follow up high. Moments later, Lavezzi pounced on an error from Laquait but could not get the ball beyond Cedric Mongongu, who was stationed on the line.
Relegation-threatened Evian woke up after that attack. Having been no threat whatsoever to that point, Salvatore Sirigu was called to make a stop from a Daniel Wass free kick and then reacted very quickly to prevent a powerful Saber Khlifa effort finding the net.
The pressure was mounting on PSG and only increased when Verratti was shown a second yellow card with 10 minutes left – a reaction that prompted the young Italian to be angrily berated by Ancelotti as he stormed towards the tunnel.
Beckham was brought on to add some calm, but in stoppage time he was also shown a red card for a stamping challenge on Khlifa, though he did not actually make contact with the forward.
Nevertheless, the capital side stood firm in the closing moments under significant scrutiny and will effectively tie up the Ligue 1 crown next weekend if it can beat Valenciennes due to a far superior goal difference to second-placed Marseille. Indeed, bettering the Provence side’s result at all will see PSG lift a first league title since 1993-94.
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- Sports & Recreation
- Javier Pastore
- Carlo Ancelotti
- Marco Verratti
- David Beckham