PSG 1-1 AS Monaco: Monaco Stay Top Of Ligue 1 After Exhilarating Draw in Paris

PSG 1-1 AS MonacoParis Saint-Germain were the dominant side against fellow nouveaux-riches club AS Monaco at the Parc Des Princes on Sunday night, but only managed a 1-1 draw with their title rivals. Zlatan Ibrahimović poked the home side into an early lead, but £50 million Colombia forward Radamel Falcao cancelled out his opener soon after with a scrappy effort. Monaco went into the match having only lost one of their previous 26 games, and PSG were unbeaten in 22, so both teams managed to continue their impressive unbeaten records.

The PSG full-backs were exploiting space behind the Monaco back-line from the opening minutes, so it came as no surprise when Ibrahimović volleyed in the impressive Maxwell’s tantalising cross just five minutes in. Thiago Silva played a long ball down the left wing which the Brazilian reached in acres of space, before putting a powerful ball into the box which was met by the mercurial Swede.

Monaco were penned in in the opening stages, with influential midfielder João Moutinho barely seeing the ball in the opening stages. When Monaco did come forward it was on the counter attack, with Maxwell and Gregory Van Der Wiel’s forays into the attacking third of the pitch leaving space behind for Lucas Acampos and Yannick Carrasco to exploit. Carrasco had an effort from the edge of the penalty area blocked by Salvatore Sirigu, but most of Monaco’s chances came from corners and frequent free-kicks in an increasingly heated atmosphere.

Zlatan Ibrahimović and Edinson Cavani were showing signs of gelling with an Ibra back-heel putting Cavani through, but the Uruguayan dragged his shot across the face of goal. He was made to rue that miss after 20 minutes when Monaco’s marquee summer signings, Moutinho and Falcao, combined to haul Monaco level. Moutinho whipped a delicious ball from the left wing in between the goalkeeper and the defense, and among three players on the ground, Falcao somehow managed to touch the ball into Sirigu’s bottom corner.

Forceful, almost Yaya Toure-esque running from Blaise Matuidi and excellent passing and dribbling from Man of the Match Marco Verratti, backed up by the solid and dependable Thiago Motta, left PSG’s midfield in complete control of the ball, and it was Les Parisiens who created the next opportunity. Ezequiel Lavezzi was sent spinning to the floor - adding several rolls of his own for effect - and from the resulting free kick, Ibrahimović headed just over from the center of the box. Ex-Roma man Marquinhos was finally booked for his fifth foul of the match some minutes later, with Falcao bending his free kick around the wall, but also around the post.

PSG 1-1 AS MonacoThe Parc Des Princes must have been one of the wealthiest places on earth at that moment with both billionaire owners in attendance, but Nasser Al-Khelaifi was left frustrated when Ibrahimović found himself through on goal, only to take an eternity to make a decision. When he eventually cut back, two defenders were in his way and his curling effort (or was it a cross?) bent around the top corner with Lavezzi unable to turn it in.

Ibra was finding himself in good positions too often for Monaco’s liking, with the PSG defense and midfield using him as a target man, with Cavani, Matuidi and Lavezzi running behind him. Cavani and Ibra’s former clubs, Napoli and AC Milan, were also in action against each other during the match, but the two still don’t look like forming a cohesive partnership, with Cavani seeming out-of-place on the right wing. It came as something of a surprise, then, when the dangerous Lavezzi was taken off for Lucas Moura in a like-for-like swap, with Monaco showing attacking intent by bringing on James Rodríguez for Geoffrey Kondogbia.

Cavani and Ibrahimović both hit limp free kicks straight into the wall, and although Falcao’s hold-up play was less than stellar and Monaco had been flat in the break, one counter from Rodríguez nearly paid off for the visitors. He was lightning fast down the right wing, and although his early cross to Falcao looked delicious, it was an inch or two too high for the forward to make a telling contact. Sirigu was looking solid when shots were taken, but considerably less so when caught flapping at crosses.

The game began to fizzle out in the last ten or fifteen minutes with Monaco, to their credit, leaving the home fans quiet and anxious, but in stoppage time they nearly had something to cheer about. Cavani was blocked off but PSG maintained their pressure, and the last in a string of tantalizing crosses from the marvelous Maxwell was desperately headed over and Cavani sent a glancing header inches wide from a short corner. PSG manager Laurent Blanc was probably correct in saying, “Given the amount of chances we had we deserved to win,” but his opposite number Claudio Ranieri was left “very satisfied” with his players after a result which leaves them two points clear of PSG at the top of the table with six games played.

Written by Sam France

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Paris Saint-Germain 1-1 Valencia: PSG Through to Quarter Finals With Draw

Paris Saint-Germain 1-1 ValenciaIt certainly wasn’t an easy trip to Valencia for Carlo Ancelotti and his squad in the first leg of this Champions League tie, but they managed to take a significant lead while there, and this was a huge positive for them as they headed into the second leg.

Although Valencia had only just drawn against Levante the previous weekend, the Spaniards were, in no way, feeling like underdogs before this game. PSG hadn’t had a nice weekend either, as their number one spot was threatened, but the home advantage (plus the away goals) gave them the upper hand going into this game.

Any mistakes, however, and the French side would lose it all, and for this, Carlo Ancelotti lined up a very strong squad, as did his counterpart, Ernesto Valverde. Carlo wasn’t looking to park the bus at Parc des Princes in any way!

The first half started with both sides very strong and determined. The visitors were, undoubtedly, in a hurry to try and get an away goal even from the first few minutes, but their hosts were determined to keep that from happening. The home side were, for the most part, beaten to challenges and outplayed in midfield, but they somehow managed to get things back. Sirigu was the busier goalkeeper for the first half, although Guaita had to make some tough saves as well.

Valencia had more possession and created more chances than their hosts in the first 45 minutes of the match, managing a total of 6 decent attempts. Jonas had a great first half although he was prevented from capitalizing on any of his chances by a strong PSG defense. Lucas was also very impressive in the first half for his side. A Jonas-Soldado combination seemed to be working so much better than what the home side had brought out (Lavezzi), in what concerns attack.

Paris Saint-Germain 1-1 ValenciaThe second half started off the same way the first half had, but with the tempo a bit higher. There was more urgency in the Valencia play as ever, while Banega came on for Albelda. The away side was faster and passed better, but the home side had also improved in many areas. Jonas finally got his break 10 minutes into the second half, when a wonderful strike from outside the penalty area got past a strong Sirigu straight into the back of the net to bring back some encouragement to the Valencia team.

One more goal, and they were through! Valencia picked up their pace as they looked to find the net again with the introduction of Piatti (in for Feghouli). Unfortunately for Valencia, though, Piatti had only been on for 3 minutes until Lavezzi got an equalizer for his side. It was now one step forward, two steps back for Valencia.

Although the La Liga side still had about 23 minutes plus added time to score, the PSG defense had intensified at this point, making a comeback almost impossible. It continued to be a 50-50 game from this point on, as both sides were under pressure in defense. David Beckham was warming up on the side, but there was to be no Champions League PSG debut for him on the night. Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who wasn’t named on the PSG squad for the night, was watching his team in a lot of anticipation, clearly itching to be part of the action.

Valencia continued to look for another goal in the 3 minutes that were added on at the end of the match, but to no avail. The final whistle couldn’t have come any sooner for the home side, and the sighs from the PSG players at full time were enough proof!

Paris Saint-Germain 1-1 ValenciaStatistic-wise, the away side were the stronger team, leading on overall possession and attempts off target. Meanwhile, the home side were much stronger defensively. Valencia’s passes were, overall, more successful for the whole game, except during the last 7 to 10 minutes when they seemed to have been demoralized.

PSG were stronger on counter-attacks and had more or less better chances (as well as attempts on target). Both teams had 18 attempts on goal. 6 yellow cards were issued between the two teams: 5 to Valencia and 1 to PSG. No players were sent off during this match.

Carlo Ancelotti and Ernesto Valverde lined up the following squads:

PSG Starting XI:

Sirigu, Thiago Silva (c), Álex, Maxwell, Jallet, Matuidi, Chantome, Pastore, Thiago Motta, Lucas Moura, Lavezzi

Subs: Douchez, Sakho, Camara, Armand, Van der Wiel, Beckham, and Gameiro

Valencia Starting XI:

Guaita, Cissokho, Barragan, Victor Ruiz, Mathieu, Albelda (c), Fehgouli, Prejo, Costa, Jonas, Soldado

Subs: Diego Alvez, Joao Pereira, Ever Banega, Guardado, Canales, Piatti, and Valdez

Final Score: Paris Saint-Germain 1-1 Valencia (Agg: 3-2)

Jonas 55′; Lavezzi 66′

Quarter Finals

Having eliminated Valencia, Paris Saint-Germain are through to the quarter finals. Their opponents will be announced at the draw on 15 March set to take place in Nyon.

Written by Ange Marline