Blaise Matuidi and Lucas Moura scored each side of half-time as champions Paris Saint-Germain sauntered to a comfortable 2-0 Ligue 1 victory at Bordeaux on Friday. The win sent PSG to the top of the French table for the first time this season and built momentum going into their UEFA Champions League opener next week at Olympiakos.
Manager Laurent Blanc won in his return to Bordeaux, the club he led from 2007 until 2010, winning the league and Coupe de la Ligue in 2009.
Blanc had to deal with several lineup concerns with a squad full of players returning from international duty. Edinson Cavani started on the bench after playing with Uruguay on Tuesday in South American World Cup qualifying, while Argentina international Ezequiel Lavezzi was not named in the squad. Also missing were Jeremy Menez, who is suffering from kidney stones, and Javier Pastore, who is dealing with a foot injury.
Lucas Digne made his debut for the champions at left-back, while Hervin Ongenda, making his full competitive debut, started in the advanced role on the left.
For all their struggles early in the season, Bordeaux started brightly against PSG. The hosts won a corner in the first minute, and Andre Poko had an early shot blocked. But it was PSG who took the lead in the 30th minute, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic playing the role of architect.
The Sweden international played a one-two with Ongenda outside the box before playing a ball through for Matuidi on the left. Matuidi's initial shot was partially blocked, but the ball rolled toward the goal-line, where Matuidi out-raced Cedric Carrasso to poke it into the net.
PSG dominated from there, controlling possession throughout the remainder of the first half. Bordeaux improved significantly after the restart, but PSG's second goal killed off the match.
In the 64th minute, Marco Verratti picked out Lucas Moura with a sublime slide-rule pass on the right. Moura was played onside despite Lucas Orban stepping up at the last second. The Bordeaux defender failed to see a teammate on the other side.
Moura then waited for Carrasso to commit and coolly slotted home.
PSG took complete control from that point on. Matuidi had a shot blocked in the 70th minute, Ibrahimovic had another saved seven minutes later and substitute Adrien Rabiot shot over in the 79th minute.
Following draws in their first two matches of the season, PSG have now won three straight and top the table—at least until the rest of the weekend's matches—with 11 points. Bordeaux, meanwhile, remained 15th with five points, having scored just three points from their five matches.
PSG begin their Champions League campaign with a trip to Greece to face Olympiakos on Tuesday. With victory in hand, Blanc's side will bring confidence to their assault on Europe.
PSG's debutants: B
Digne made his debut for PSG, and Ongenda started for the first time in the league. Both had ups and downs but in the end produced positive performances.
Digne had an especially shaky start as Bordeaux appeared to target him at left-back. He endured the rough end of a few early challenges but recovered well, eventually moving forward with confidence to join in the attack. After Bordeaux's opening spell of pressure, they rarely threatened.
Ongenda, meanwhile, was involved in the build-up to PSG's first goal. Other than that, however, he was not especially influential in the attack. All in all, though, both played well.
Lucas Moura: A
The Brazilian attacker recently admitted to confidence issues, but no such problem surfaced Friday. Lucas took his chance well and sparkled throughout, especially as PSG took their greatest level of control—a spell that coincided with Lucas' goal.
Combining to devastating effect with Ibrahimovic, Lucas completed a team-high four key passes according to WhoScored. He posed a constant threat in the attacking third, completing 17 of 19 passes, per FourFourTwo's StatsZone.
Now that he presumably has his confidence back, Lucas will have opposing Ligue 1 defenses shaking with fear.
PSG big picture: A
This was PSG's best performance of the season under Blanc, and not coincidentally, the victory took them to the top of the table.
The season started slowly, but PSG and Blanc appear to have found an effective formula. On Friday they effectively won what could have been a tough away match without Cavani. The Uruguayan played the final 10 minutes or so, but his offensive skills were unnecessary this time.
PSG finished with 66 percent possession and limited Bordeaux to just one shot on target—which came in the first half. In truth, if the visitors had converted a few more of the golden chances they created in the second half, the score could have been much more lopsided. As it stands, it was still an impressive performance.
With this win, the Parisians head into their Champions League opener with plenty of momentum.
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