Paris Saint-Germain halted their stuttering start to the Ligue 1 season as they battled to a 2-1 victory over Nantes at the Stade De La Beaujoire.
The champions had failed to win their first two games of the season, but led at half-time through Edison Cavani’s cool strike in the 24th minute.
Nantes rallied and equalised through Alex’s unfortunate own goal mid-way through the second half, but Ezequiel Lavezzi fired PSG to their first win of the season with 17 minutes to go.
Laurent Blanc has had a turbulent start to his career with the Parisians after gaining just one point from the opening two games, but his side started in confident fashion in front of a raucous Nantes support. Zlatan Ibrahimovic should have fired them in front inside six minutes, but after getting on the end of Thiago Motta’s chipped pass, the Swede was denied from close range by Remy Riou’s good save.
Ibrahimovic is going through a relative dry patch in front of goal, but luckily for PSG, their new summer signing from Cavani has an eye for goal. Just a minute after snatching a volley well wide from 25 yards, the Uruguay international raced onto Ibrahimovic’s clever pass and precisely slotted past the goalkeeper from 15 yards. It was Cavani’s second in as many league starts for PSG and marked the first time the champions have led a game this season.
Nantes managed to creep back into the game, but it was largely in part to poor PSG defending. Thiago Silva’s sloppy clearance fell to Filip Dordevic from 20 yards, but the Serbian striker sent his blasted shot well wide of Salvatore Sirigu’s goal. The home side would get better chances to equalise before half-time as they ended the first half really strongly.
Just a minute before the interval, Alejandro Bedoya played in Vincent Bessat with a nice pass, but the French winger somehow poked the ball over from ten yards despite being in a great position. The pressure continued though as Nantes forced a corner that Jordan Vertout swung in and Gabriel Chichero’s acrobatic volley was heading in before Sirigu pulled off a superb save to keep his side in front.
Despite Blanc having 15 minutes to get his side back into their groove at half-time, Nantes equalised in the 53rd minute. Veretout’s corner was sent to the back post where Alex and Papy Djilobodji were battling to win the header and in a cruel twist of fate, the ball hit Alex on the shoulder and bounced into his own net. It was harsh on the former Chelsea defender who couldn’t do much to avoid it, but Nantes were deservedly level.
The home side had the momentum and could have took the lead, but Bedoya squandered a superb opportunity. Veretout’s cross picked out the American who had a free header, but Bedoya could only direct his effort straight at Sirigu who made a good save. It was a tremendous chance, but Bedoya couldn’t grab his first goal in French football and Nantes were made to pay for it in the 73rd minute.
The goal was really well-worked by PSG and was an example of the champagne football that led them to the French title last season. Ibrahimovic found Blaise Matuidi with space in the box and the defensive midfielder did well to square across for Cavani. The striker could have knocked in his second of the game but was denied by Riou’s great save, only for Lavezzi to steal in and slam home PSG’s ultimate winning goal.
In truth, the lead should have been much greater for the away side. Lavezzi became a livewire on the left flank and sped past two defenders, but his low cross was turned over from ten yards by Lucas Moura. The Brazilian really should have scored, but luckily for Blanc, the miss meant nothing as PSG picked up their first valuable victory in their quest to regain the Ligue 1 title.
Match Report by Kyle Dixon (@kyledixon95)