against all odds, PSG leaves Le Havre as a strengthened leader

After a cataclysmic start to the match, the Parisians reversed the trend. Despite their numerical inferiority, they won in Le Havre (2-0) on Sunday.

France Télévisions – Sports Editorial



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PSG striker Kylian Mbappé scored the first goal of the match, against Le Havre, on December 3, 2023 at the Océane stadium, for the 14th day of Ligue 1. (MATTHIEU MIRVILLE / AFP)

A chaotic start, before breaking free. If the Parisians won, Sunday December 3 in Le Havre (2-0), during the match counting for the 14th day of Ligue 1, they suffered a major blow at the start of the match. During the first twenty minutes, PSG went through all its states, shaken by a wave of conflicting emotions between the injury of Fabian Ruiz, the expulsion of Gianluigi Donnarumma and the beautiful opening score of Kylian Mbappé. Paris Saint-Germain has often folded, but has never foundered.

From the 8th minute, the grains of sand effectively stopped the machine. Spanish midfielder Fabian Ruiz was taken off on a stretcher after suffering a shoulder injury. Manuel Ugarte then entered the field to replace his teammate, visibly stunned. But two minutes later, the PSG collective was once again shaken up with the expulsion of its goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma.

The Italian international was guilty of a dangerous foot-forward exit, during which he hit HAC striker Josué Casimir in the face. The sanction fell quickly, the central referee Bastien Dechepy showing the red card without hesitation (10th). This fact of play forced Bradley Barcola to give up his place to the young Spanish goalkeeper Arnau Tenas (22 years old), replacing Gianluigi Donnarumma, who has definitely not had much success in recent weeks.

Numerical inferiority, an electric shock

Although reduced to ten, the Parisians pulled themselves together at that moment, and were able to regain control of the match. After a first missed opportunity from Kylian Mbappé, the captain of the Blues finally opened the scoring in the 23rd minute, thus offering himself a 15th goal this season in Ligue 1, with a delicious curling strike from the edge of the area. Untenable, the PSG star even thought he had scored a double (32nd), before having his achievement refused for an offside position. The Parisians therefore waited until the last moments of the game (89th) to seal their victory thanks to Vitinha.

As is often the case, Paris did not shine overall but resisted when necessary and as it knows so well when the planets do not necessarily align. “We could have gone looking for them, exploited this loophole [de l’infériorité numérique]but we didn’t do it, conceded Mohamed Bayo, the Le Havre center forward, at the end of the match. We should have let go a little more, and when we don’t score quickly against this kind of team… We know it’s Paris.”

Only 39% possession

PSG even played against nature, leaving possession of the ball to the Normans (61%) to operate on counterattacks. “This is not the football we want to showadmitted coach Luis Enrique at the microphone of Prime Video. But we showed that we are a team that knows how to defend.” The rock Danilo Pereira held the house, and interim goalkeeper Arnau Tenas made his entry.

The Iberian hopeful held his own against Le Havre’s 22 shots (including seven on target). Like, among others, sa double parade in front of Nabil Alioui (78th). Although on the initiative, the Norman training was quickly limited against the Parisians. Thanks to this seventh victory in a row in Ligue 1, Paris consolidates its place at the top of the championship with 33 points, which allows it to break away from its runner-up Nice (29 points). It shows that, even in suffering, PSG is moving forward.

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