28 April 2013 23:12
PSG opened up a nine-point gap at the top of Ligue 1 with a 1-0 victory over Evian on Sunday.
Javier Pastore scored the only goal of the game, latching on to a Christophe Jallet pass to send a right-footed shot into the left-hand corner of the goal.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Ezequiel Lavezzi both should have added goals for PSG but red cards for Marco Verratti and David Beckham made for a tense finale, while Saber Khelifa was sent off after the game had ended.
PSG brought in Jeremy Menez in for Lucas Moura, and Ibrahimovic recovered from a virus in time to make the starting line-up. Evian made just one change, with Yannick Sagbo coming in for Kevin Berigaud.
Ibrahimovic had the first effort on goal for the hosts, as his dipping shot from distance forced a save from Evian goalkeeper Bertrand Laquait.
But it was Evian who generally settled the better of the two sides and twice had opportunities to take the lead as an effort flashed across goal before Sagbo hit a rising effort over the crossbar.
Despite Evian’s early priomise, it was PSG who nearly took the lead in the 17th minute when Ibrahimovic met a Maxwell free-kick only to see his volley parried away for a corner.
Alex was the next to miss an opportunity for the league leaders, meeting an Ezequiel Lavezzi corner but putting his header wide of the goal.
Lavezzi then missed the chance of the half for PSG, shooting wide after a fine through-ball from Ibrahimovic.
PSG started the second half well, and were duly rewarded in the 50th minute with the games’ opening goal.
Jallet found space on the right-hand side just outside the box and his cut-back was met by the onrushing Pastore, who swung an effort beyond the goalkeeper.
Ibrahimovic and Lavezzi then both missed gilt-edged opportunities to double that lead.
A Pastore effort from inside the area rebounded off the crossbar and fell to Ibrahimovic inside the six-yard box but, with the goal gaping, the Swede put his effort over the bar when it looked impossible to miss.
A minute later Lavezzi was put through one-on-one with keeper, but took too much time after rounding the keeper and allowed Cedrid Mongongu to get back and make the block.
Evian almost made them pay for their profligacy when Milos Ninkovic forced a great save from Salvatore Sirigu with a 25-yard free-kick.
And a minute later, Sirigu excelled himself with an unbelievable reflex save from Khelifa’s well-hit half-volley.
Two red cards did little to calm PSG’s nerves, as midfielder Verratti was given his marching orders for a second bookable offence in the 81st minute before Beckham received a straight red for a needless over the ball lunge.
But PSG held on for victory despite their numerical advantage to take a huge step towards the Ligue 1 title.
Five minutes after play had ended, Khelifa was shown a red card for his part in the mass brawl between players which followed the final whistle of a tasty encounter.