PSG Drops Reims in Battle of Past and Future Kings
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PSG finally ascended to the top of the Ligue 1 standings this weekend, courtesy of a shock result in the Marseille-Troyes match.
In order to be in position to go to the top of the table, PSG had to overcome some key injuries and a surprising Stade de Reims squad.
Reims is long removed from the glory years of their 1950s dynasty, and PSG is trying to create a powerhouse of their own, so from a historical perspective this was a highly anticipated match.
The one-time kings of French football were looking to make a statement in Paris against the heavily-financed PSG.
On paper, the contest should have been an easy three points for PSG, but games are not played on paper, and this Reims squad has been playing beyond expectations.
PSG entered this match with a handful of key components struggling for fitness. Fortunately, manager Carlo Ancelotti has the deepest bench in France to call upon, and it would be a key member of that bench who would give PSG the three points.
Kevin Gameiro's future with PSG was up in the air this summer, as rumors swirled about an exit for the striker. To Gameiro's credit, he has stuck to his guns and earned his time on the pitch. His second half strike was the only breakthrough in the match.
With Marco Verratti and Clement Chantome sidelined with injuries, Ancelotti had to mix up his lineup coming out of the international break. While PSG's injury woes can be blamed for their struggles in this match, Reims deserves credit for creating some of their problems.
Reims kept a tight mark on Ibrahimovic and played a stellar first half. Despite a disadvantage in possession, Reims kept PSG under some pressure. Sirigu spared PSG some blushes with a few fine saves.
The second half is where PSG became more forceful in the attack, and it paid off in the 65th minute when Gameiro headed home from close range. Despite controlling much of the second half, PSG was unable to breathe easy until the final whistle sounded.
While PSG deserved the full three points, the case could be made that Reims deserved a share of the spoils. With PSG taking the lead at the top of the table, one has to wonder if Marseille or anyone will be able to mount a challenge or if PSG ride into the sunset.
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