Ibrahimovic Sees Red as Saint-Etienne Gives PSG First Ligue 1 Loss
While they have not been running away from the competition in Ligue 1, Paris Saint-Germain had begun the season with no losses in the first 10 games. Whispers about an Arsenal "Invincibles" type of run were beginning to surface. All of this was wiped away when Saint-Etienne put an end to the unbeaten run with a 2-1 victory in Paris.
While many viewed the matchup with excitement over the two attacking squads, few, including the most staunch ASSE supporters (that would be me), felt Les Verts had much of a chance of bringing home more than one point from the Paris trip. Any hope was brought further down when Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang was left on the bench to start the match.
Saint-Etienne's young striker has been their inspiration over the last season, but a race for fitness left him as a game-time decision. PSG did not have any concern over Zlatan Ibrahimovic after holding him out of the midweek Coupe de la Ligue match against Marseille.
Ibrahimovic had the best chance in the early going, only to see it saved by Ruffier. PSG had to make an early substitution shortly after, when Bodmer had to come on for the injured Blaise Matuidi. The game continued to lack clear-cut chances, as both defenses held up nicely in the early going.
The game sprung to life in the second half. After Javier Pastore headed just wide, Saint-Etienne caught the first break. Second-half sub Aubameyang's cross into the box took an unfortunate deflection off Sakho and into the goal.
Saint-Etienne looked to press the advantage through the counterattack while PSG pushed forward in search of an equalizer. A few minutes later, things got worse for PSG, as Ibrahimovic received a straight red for a cleats-up challenge on ASSE goalkeeper Ruffier.
Minutes later, with PSG pushing forward, a turnover in the midfield saw ASSE counter quickly with Aubameyang putting the finishing touch into the PSG net. With a 2-0 advantage, ASSE went defensive and held on over the last few minutes as Hoarau brought PSG within one in the 88th minute.
When the final whistle blew, Saint-Etienne had gotten a huge victory that removed the cloak of invincibility from the Parisian squad. What remains to be seen is if other Ligue 1 squads will press this advantage or will this home loss stir the slumbering giant.
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