Paris Saint-Germain set a new all-time Ligue 1 points record of 86 with their 3-1 win away at Lille OSC on Saturday, but the French champions’ record-breaking achievements were dampened by a first-half injury to midfielder Yohan Cabaye.
Playing against his former club, the 28-year-old was stretchered off after Marvin Martin’s poorly timed challenge resulted in an ankle problem for the French international. With Les Bleus coach Didier Deschamps due to name his provisional 30-man FIFA World Cup squad early next week, the PSG man’s potential injury is a cause for concern.
Immediate fears were allayed after the match, though, with Cabaye’s ankle only thought to be badly swollen and crucially not fractured. PSG coach Laurent Blanc told PSG.fr that he does not believe that the player will miss this summer's World Cup in Brazil.
"Apparently Yohan hasn't fractured his ankle and it doesn't look too serious," he revealed. "We have to see how he recovers in the coming days, but we have an excellent medical team and he should be okay. At the moment, his World Cup is not in danger."
Martin was given a straight red card for his reckless challenge, after referee Ruddy Buquet initially gave him only a yellow card. Moments after Cabaye had been taken off and Martin had been dismissed, PSG made their one-man advantage count.
Brazilian defender Marquinhos was following up after compatriot Lucas Moura’s initial shot was saved well by Lille goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama to head Blanc’s men into a 41st-minute lead at Stade Pierre Mauroy. Zlatan Ibrahimovic was involved in the build-up with a fantastic pass to the PSG No. 29.
Although the hosts huffed and puffed early in the second half—particularly through defender Marko Basa—PSG caught Les Dogues with a sucker-punch counterattack reminiscent of the side’s performances under Carlo Ancelotti. Javier Pastore slipped the ball through to Lucas, who finished firmly past Enyeama after 65 minutes.
After the heartache of being overlooked by Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari for the hosts’ 23-man World Cup squad in midweek, it was the perfect tonic for the 21-year-old.
Blaise Matuidi added gloss to the scoreline with a delightful third—sliding in after an excellent Lucas assist with eight minutes remaining—before Jonathan Delaplace scored a late consolation goal for Rene Girard’s side after Marco Verratti was caught in possession on his own byline.
The 3-1 final score was flattering for the champions, but PSG took their chances well on a night when they were not at their best but also understrength.
Zoumana Camara started in central defence in place of Thiago Silva, while Marquinhos was played at right-back. Lucas Digne started against his former club instead of Maxwell, while Verratti joined Cabaye and Adrien Rabiot in midfield.
Lucas and Pastore flanked Ibrahimovic—captain in the absence of Silva—but it was the Brazilian who stole the show with his excellent performance.
In addition to setting a new all-time Ligue 1 record of 86 points in a single season, breaking Olympique Lyonnais’ previous record of 84 set in 2005-06, PSG have now also bettered their own number of victories in a single season in Le Championnat.
Under Ancelotti last campaign, Les Parisiens recorded 25 wins. However, this term they have now managed 26 and can add to that in next week’s season-closing home clash against Montpellier HSC.
Prior to last season’s 2-1 win over Lille, it had been 13 matches since PSG last won in Lille, with that last triumph came all the way back in 1997. Saturday’s 3-1 win means that the capital club have now won twice in their last 15 trips to northern France.
In honesty though, Blanc’s side should consider themselves fortunate. Lille wasted a number of chance to equalise early in the second half and—despite being down to 10 men for over two-thirds of the game—were the dominant side for large parts of the encounter.
Martin’s sending-off was perhaps the decisive factor, but it was a deserved red card and the full extent of the damage to a distraught Cabaye is not yet known. Should the French international miss the World Cup through injury, Deschamps still has a wealth of talent in that position to call upon though.
The PSG man is expected to be fine, but concern over his injury detracted somewhat from a good evening for the French champions. Following poor performances against Evian Thonon Gaillard, FC Sochaux-Montbeliard and Stade Rennais, the capital outfit finally look like they will finish an impressive season with the style that it deserves.