Paris Saint-Germain vs. SC Bastia: Winners and Losers from Ligue 1 Match
After being held to a draw by Stade de Reims on the opening day of the Ligue 1 season, French champions Paris Saint-Germain registered their first win of the season with a 2-0 triumph over SC Bastia at Parc des Princes on Saturday.
Lucas Moura and Edinson Cavani were the goal scorers for Laurent Blanc’s men, but Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s early exit through injury took some of the shine off of the result in the French capital.
It was a deserved win for les Parisiens, even if it did not require them to be at their absolute best. With a number of players still absent because of their lack of fitness following FIFA World Cup returns, Blanc still does not have a full squad to choose from.
However, PSG still had more than enough to see off former assistant coach Claude Makelele’s limited side, much to the delight of their coach.
"I am satisfied because we won and also because, to me, it was confirmation that we also did well in Reims," Blanc revealed to PSG.fr shortly after the final whistle. "Back then there was a lack of efficiency, but tonight we were solid. We played well defensively and we scored twice, so I am very satisfied with the whole team."
Here are some winners and losers from PSG’s 2-0 win over Bastia.
Winner: Edinson Cavani
The big winner from PSG’s 2-0 victory over Bastia is Cavani.
After plenty of criticism following his disappointing performance in the opening 2-2 draw at Reims, the Uruguayan hit back in style with a well-taken goal and an encouraging performance.
Starting out wide in a three-man attacking unit, Cavani came inside once Ibrahimovic came off injured. The change breathed new life into "El Matador," and he raised his performance level after that to put in an excellent shift.
Cavani demonstrated excellent control from Marco Verratti’s chipped pass direct from a free-kick before finishing clinically and it is a goal that will boost his confidence.
1 - @PSG_inside hadn't scored from set-piece in Ligue 1 since 23 February (v Toulouse). Unusual.— OptaJean (@OptaJean) August 16, 2014
Now the 27-year-old must maintain the same level of performance and take the chance that any potential Ibrahimovic absence will give him.
Winner: Lucas Moura
Lucas was a another big winner for PSG on the day, scoring the opening goal to make the most of his second consecutive starting appearance.
The Brazilian was criticised for his performance in the 2-2 draw at Stade de Reims on the opening day of the season, incurring the wrath of Ibrahimovic at one point. However, the PSG no. 7 made up for it with an excellent goal against Bastia.
Gregory van der Wiel lifted in a tantalising deep cross from the right to Lucas at the back post after 26 minutes. The Selecao star calmly cushioned the ball past on-loan Parisien goalkeeper Alphonse Areola to make it 1-0.
The goal will be a big boost for the 22-year-old, who is looking to cement his place in coach Blanc’s plans after finding himself in and out of the team last season. Lucas also appeared to play with more freedom once Ibrahimovic left the pitch.
Winner: Javier Pastore
Pastore’s excellent early season form continues.
After providing two assists for Ibrahimovic on the opening day of the season at Reims, the Argentine scored a sensational goal in Monday’s friendly clash with SSC Napoli. Here, "El Flaco" did not score or provide an assist, but he continued to play with the confidence of a player who has been totally reinvigorated.
The sublime piece of skill displayed by PSG’s No. 27 in the second half—wriggling away from two men before crossing in for Cavani—was indicative of Pastore returning to his best form.
Although it gives Blanc a minor tactical headache because it requires him to deploy Pastore in one of the three central midfield roles, it is a major boost for "Le President."
Loser: Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Disaster struck for PSG and star man Zlatan inside the opening 15 minutes of their clash with Bastia.
The super Swede went down after challenging for the ball on the edge of the Bastia penalty area and immediately began to nurse his hip. After a few minutes of treatment, Blanc substituted the PSG No. 10 and brought Ezequiel Lavezzi on in his place.
1 - Zlatan Ibrahimovic has been substituted in the first-half of a Ligue 1 game for the first time since his arrival in 2012. Exit.— OptaJean (@OptaJean) August 16, 2014
Ibrahimovic’s injury is a big blow for les Parisiens, especially considering the way the 32-year-old has started the season.
However, his absence will give Cavani the chance to prove himself in the central role that he prefers.
Provided that Zlatan’s injury is not as severe as Thiago Silva’s—the Brazilian will be out for at least a month—then it is not a total disaster for the capital club. Blanc is not confident, though, as evidenced by the tweet of Goal's Robin Bairner.
The biggest loser of the day was Bastia's Brandao, but not for what happened on the pitch.
Following the match, the cumbersome Brazilian veteran was caught on camera by RMC Sport waiting for PSG's Thiago Motta in the tunnel before headbutting him and attempting to flee the ensuing melee.
Such cowardly behaviour should not go unpunished and PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi called for the 34-year-old to be "banned for life" according to beIN Sports France (h/t ESPN FC).
Loser: Claude Makelele
After making his coaching debut in the thrilling 3-3 home draw against Olympique de Marseille on opening day, Bastia’s Claude Makelele struggled in his second match in charge.
The 41-year-old’s side produced little of note and allowed PSG a number of chances. It was not a great performance, but it can be attributed to Makelele’s lack of experience at this level.
Alphonse Areola’s performance in goal was a rare positive for the Corsicans, but otherwise it was a disappointing display tactically and technically.