PSG beats Nantes 2-1 for 1st win of the season
PARIS (AP) — Paris Saint-Germain recorded its first win of the season on Sunday, but the narrow 2-1 victory at newly-promoted Nantes was far from convincing from the defending French champions.
Edinson Cavani almost gave PSG the lead in the 23 minute but sent a fierce volley just past the left upright. However, the Uruguay striker grabbed his second goal of the season less than a minute later, beating the offside trap to race onto Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s through ball and fire home.
Nantes began to get into the game and had two brilliant chances to level moments before halftime. Vincent Bessat found himself all alone in front of goal but PSG defender Maxwell threw himself at the ball to deflect the effort over the bar. Goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu then blocked Gabriel Cichero’s acrobatic effort from the resulting corner on the line.
Nantes did equalize seven minutes into the second half, when PSG defender Alex headed Jordan Veretout’s free kick into his own net, under pressure from Papy Mison Djilobodji.
And the home side almost took the lead shortly after but Sirigu pulled off a fantastic save to tip Alejandro Bedoya’s effort over the bar.
Ezequiel Lavezzi scored what proved to be the winner in the 73rd minute, volleying into the top right corner after Lucas’ effort was cleared off the line by Cichero.
Nantes laid siege to PSG’s goal and the capital side was forced to defend in numbers as it clung on for its first victory after opening its title defense with two draws.
“It’s good, we’re especially happy to get our first victory,” Sirigu said. “We suffered, but the result makes us happy. When they equalized I thought it wasn’t going to happen this time, but finally we scored our second goal and won.
“It’s not easy to make so many champions play together, but everyone plays well. We have players capable of making the difference and who want to help the team win when they come on the pitch.”
PSG has five points and remains four points below league leader Marseille, which is the only side remaining with a perfect record after Saint-Etienne’s 1-0 loss at Lille.
Salomon Kalou scored from the spot in the 37th minute for Lille, sending Saint-Etienne goalkeeper Stephane Ruffier the wrong way. Kalou won the penalty when he forced his way into the area between Francois Clerc and Jeremy Clement, and was bundled over by Clement.
It was the first goal Saint-Etienne had conceded in the league this season.
Both sides struggled to create chances. Lille almost doubled its tally in the 66th minute but Ruffier pulled off a brilliant save to parry a fierce, swerving shot from Ronny Rodelin.
It was Saint-Etienne’s second defeat in a week after Thursday’s Europa League loss at Esbjerg.
Nice was also beaten in the first leg of the Europa League playoff round, losing 2-0 at Apollon Limassol. The travel seemed to be taking a toll Sunday as Nice also appeared sluggish and limped to a goalless draw at Ajaccio.
Nice almost got off to the perfect start, however, but Christian Bruls’ early headed goal was ruled out as teammate Dario Cvitanich was flagged offside.
Both Ajaccio and Nice had just two shots each on target.
Ajaccio has two points from its opening three matches, Nice has four.