Offshore drilling: Paris Saint-Germain 2, Marseille 1

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Man of the Match: In a match defined more by its physicality than anything technical, Nene provided some needed class. His run to the left corner and subsequent cross made Jeremy Menez’s opening goal. The Brazilian’s presence down that flank provided Paris Saint-Germain their most reliable avenue into attack. Nene’s inswinging corner just after the hour mark provided for Alex’s game-winning goal.

Packaged for takeaway:

  • Antony Gautier was PSG’s best friend. The match official’s willingness to let the teams play through a number of tackles that, in most matches, would have been whistled helped Thiago Motta and, in particular, Mohamed Sissoko, who seemed to have painted a mental target on Andre Ayew. Though Ayew scored Marseille’s only goal, he seemed to be taken out of his game by Sissoko, visibly pulling up on number of challenges after seeing the bottom of the PSG midfielder’s boots early in the match.
  • Salvatore Sigiru had a number of impressive first half moments where he elected not to get involved. Replays of long-range shots from Marseille showed the PSG goalkeeper’s perfect positioning and pristine, van der Sar-esque technique as he tracked each ball just beyond his far post, able to let the shots go for goal kicks rather than concede corners.
  • Those long range shots seemed to be part of PSG’s approach. They were more than willing to let Marseille retain possession in the attacking third, with defenders choosing to keep play in front of them rather than try to win the ball. With 20 minutes left, Didier Deschamps tried to exploit this by bringing on both Andre Pierre-Gignac and Brandão, but it was too late. With Loic Remy as his center forward, Deschamps had nobody to take advantage of Carlo Ancelotti’s defensive approach.
  • Amongst the stars in the stands for the Classique was Samuel Eto’o, who played 90 minutes in Moscow on Saturday as Anzhi visited CSKA. To his left? Soon-to-be ex-Lille star Eden Hazard. Would have never guessed they were BFFs.
  • The win moves PSG even with Montpellier at the top of Ligue 1, though thanks to last week’s postponed match with l’OM, Montpellier has a game in hand. The fear, when the match was postponed, was fixture congestion caused by rescheduling would aid PSG. We could see the effects on Wednesday when Montpellier visits Stade Velodrome, or the weight of three matches in eight days may show up Saturday at Lorient.