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Bastia 0 Paris Saint-Germain 1: Kurzawa gives champions winning start

A late goal from Layvin Kurzawa saw Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain open the defence of their title with a 1-0 win at Bastia.

Hosts Bastia should have taken a first-half lead – with Enzo Crivelli missing a golden chance – and they paid the price when left-back Kurzawa netted the winner in the closing stages after good work from Jese Rodriguez on his debut.

Compared to their impressive 4-1 win over Lyon in the Trophee des Champions last time out, in which Kurzawa also scored, this was a far from vintage performance from PSG.

Unai Emery’s men had most of the ball but lacked a cutting edge as they adapted to life without new Manchester United striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic and the injured Edinson Cavani.

However, the victory was only the second time in six years PSG  have won on the opening day and gets Unai Emery’s side off and running as they look to win a fifth consecutive title.

Bastia squandered a glorious opportunity to take a shock lead midway through the first half. 

On-loan Monaco winger Allan Saint-Maximin did superbly to get the better of Kurzawa down the right and sent in a powerful cross, but fellow debutant Crivelli could only divert his effort wide from six yards.

PSG dominated possession but struggled to make an impact going forward in the opening period, with two efforts from Angel Di Maria – both saved by goalkeeper Jean-Louis Leca – their only opportunities.

Leca made a vital save to keep out Di Maria yet again early in the second half, but a breakthrough was still proving hard to come by as the game reached the closing stages.

Emery brought on new signing Jese in place of Hatem Ben Arfa in an attempt to find a spark and – after the game was briefly interrupted when Lucas Moura was struck by an object from the crowd – the former Real Madrid forward was involved with the decisive goal.

On 73 minutes, Di Maria slipped a pass through to Jese, whose effort was saved by Leca before deflecting into the air, allowing the onrushing Kurzawa to volley home.

Leca and substitute Blaise Matuidi were booked for a scuffle in the closing stages as Bastia’s frustration came to the fore.

Indeed, despite making life difficult for the visitors, Bastia failed to trouble Kevin Trapp once in the 90 minutes as Emery’s men held out for a narrow victory, with the absences of injured captain Thiago Silva and Olympian Marquinhos not keenly felt in defence.

Key Opta stats:

– Bastia have lost 11 of their last 12 games against PSG in Ligue 1 (W1).
– Bastia have failed to score in 10 of their last 13 games against PSG in Ligue 1.
– Bastia have lost their Ligue 1 opening game of a season for the first time since 1999-2000 (2-3 v Bordeaux).
– PSG have won their opening Ligue 1 game in two consecutive seasons (1-0 v Lille in 2015-16 & 1-0 v Bastia) for the first time since 2000-01.
– PSG have won 40 of their last 48 Ligue 1 games (D6 L2).
– PSG have kept 15 clean sheets in their last 22 away games in Ligue 1.

 

Fri 12 Aug, 2016
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