Paris held at Clermont
Paris Saint-Germain had to settle for a draw against a brave Clermont side on Matchday 7 of Ligue 1 (0-0). Here's a look back at the match.
After two big wins over Dortmund in the Champions League (2-0) and rivals Marseille in the Ligue 1 Classique (4-0), Luis Enrique's men left their Parisian home to travel to the centre of France, to the Stade Gabriel-Montpied in Clermont - a lower-ranked but no less dangerous opponent. To cope with a busy schedule, the Spanish coach reshuffled his starting eleven. Fabian Ruiz lined up alongside Vitinha in midfield, as did Danilo in central defence. The Dembélé-Mbappé-Barcola-Kolo Muani quartet were in attack.
Make no mistake about it: despite their 18th place in the table, the league's bottom side came at our Red and Blue with the bit between their teeth, as the opening minutes showed. It was impossible to underestimate the strengths of the opposition on the day, especially as the run of fixtures was another factor for the Parisians to take into account. This led to a first half in which both teams responded to each other from one end of the pitch to the other. While the home side looked dangerous on the counterattack, our forwards never stopped causing problems for the opposing defence. Ousmane Dembélé (19', 41'), Kylian Mbappé (33') and Randal Kolo Muani (34') all came up against the excellent Mory Diaw - a former Parisian youngster.
The second half was no different, with the two opposing goalkeepers the main protagonists, Gigio Donnarumma pulling off a string of saves to keep the home side at bay. In this wide-open game, the chances kept coming for both sides, and when the goalkeepers were not at work, it was fate that came to the rescue, as was the case when Kylian Mbappé hit the post (53'). It was not for want of trying for the Parisians, as the 15 shots on goal on the hour mark showed.
The lines continued to stretch as the minutes passed. The pressure from Paris was mounting and the home side were on the ropes. It was at this point that Luis Enrique made some changes, bringing on Gonçalo Ramos and Warren Zaïre-Emery. It was getting unbearable for the Clermont-Ferrand defence, but Mory Diaw continued to work miracles on his line, with his incredible reflexes from close range in front of Gonçalo Ramos (81'), before two final saves from Danilo and Kylian Mbappé (90'+1).
Despite putting in a good performance, the Rouge et Bleu were unable to find an opening against a Clermont side who were brave and heroic right to the end. In the end, Paris Saint-Germain had to settle for a draw, but it proved a rich learning experience for Luis Enrique, who will soon have the chance to bounce back. After all, the Red and Blue have another intense week ahead of them, with a trip to Newcastle in the north of England coming up in another European battle...