Paris back on track with win over Troyes!
Paris Saint-Germain got back on track with a 1-3 win over Troyes in Ligue 1 Round 34. The capital club thus strengthened its position atop the league standings. Take a look back at the victory!
With five games remaining in the league season, Paris Saint-Germain knew that each match would be an opportunity to gain precious points in the final sprint for the title. And to try to bounce back, the capital club took on a Troyes side mired in the relegation zone. But the Paris Saint-Germain coach was not about to underestimate his opponent in this always-suffocating encounter. In fact, the coach reintroduced his 5-3-2 formation, giving Warren Zaire-Emery and Hugo Ekitike a starting role for the occasion.
In this clash of extremes, the scenario of the match was almost written in advance: faced with an opponent looking for a final surge, Troyes were on the back foot and the 22 players would quickly find themselves in a configuration of attack - defence. And the start of the match lived up to its promise, as all the Parisians deployed their attacking efforts to get around the very compact Troyes block.
If you didn't know, the Aube stadium was also one of the few places where Kylian Mbappé hadn't scored. And if you didn't know it either, Alexandre Lacazette had scored a quadruple earlier in the day, stealing our No.7's status as the league's top scorer. It didn't take for him to find his opportunity, as he only needed seven minutes to return to the top of the scoring chart!
Indeed, a week after his unusual strike against Lorient, he scored another fox-in-the-box goal, nodding home from point-blank range after Vitinha's ball had come off the cross-bar (0-1, 7').
With this advantage in their pocket, our Parisians were able to continue their smothering of the ESTAC defence, who were suffering from the long sequences of Parisian possession. We'll spare you the details of the 15 shots attempted by the Parisians in the first half, but we'll remember the audacity of Christophe Galtier's men, with Sergio Ramos launching a missile (18'), Fabian Ruiz conjuring a curling shot (21'), and Danilo going just wide with a powerful header (22'). There are special mentions for Marco Verratti's long shot and Kylian Mbappé's attempted overhead effort (38'), a sign that our players were playing as much of a sense of freedom as determination.
All that remained was to convert these good intentions, because at the other end of the green rectangle, the hosts were going to give their all on each of their rare opportunities. Although he was not often called upon, Gigio Donnarumma was able to respond each time he was called upon, as was the case when he found the perfect save for Baldé's header just before the break (44th).
In short, it was necessary to be patient and to remain vigilant in order to be safe in the second act.
One thing is certain: Les Rouge et Bleu came back after the break with the same intentions, and the same kind of clear-cut chances. But it was not until the 23rd Parisian shot that Vitinha finally found a way through. The Portuguese was teed up beautifully by Verratti in behind the defence, and his header was parried by Gallon - but directly into Vitinha's path and the ball ended up in the back of the net (0-2, 59').
And although Christophe Galtier's men - supported by the entries into play of Carlos Soler and Renato Sanches - took advantage of the last half-hour to confiscate the ball from their hosts. However, Troyes never gave up the idea of upsetting the champions, even going as far as to reduce the gap a few minutes before the end of the game, thanks to Chavalerin (1-2, 83'). A goal without consequence, since our Parisians reacted by restoring their two-goal buffer right away! After a countered attempt by Mbappé, it was Fabian Ruiz, clear through in the middle, who unleashed a superb first-time shot that hit the post before shooting into the top corner! (1-3, 86'). A goal that concluded the Parisian performance on a very refined note.
As a result, Paris resumed its march forward, collecting three precious points as they look to keep their rivals well behind them. They will be looking to double down on the win next Saturday, when Troyes' fellow strugglers Ajaccio come calling at the Parc des Princes.