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Ligue 1: Paris Saint-Germain 1 Valenciennes 1

A late Alex goal helped Paris Saint-Germain recover from the controversial dismissal of Thiago Silva’s to earn a 1-1 draw with Valenciennes.

PSG knew that a win would put them on the brink of winning the Ligue 1
title but they struggled against their well-organised mid-table
opponents.

Against the run of play, Valenciennes took the lead
through Gael Danic, the midfielder in the right place at the right time
to fire home after Nicolas Douchez could only parry Vincent Aboubakar’s
shot.

The major talking point in the game came just before half
time when Silva was, to his dismay, sent off for dissent towards referee
Alexandre Castro. PSG pushed for a way back into the game throughout
the second half and with 10 minutes to play, Alex headed home the
equaliser at the front post.

Carlo Ancelotti was forced into
changes with Salvatore Sirigu, David Beckham and Marco Veratti suspended
after red cards against Evian. Douchez and Clement Chantome started in
their places, and there was also recalls for Gregory van der Wiel and
Mamadou Sakho.

The visitors started brightly but the first chance
of the game fell to the hosts as Zlatan Ibrahimovic controlled a long
ball out of defence superbly on his chest. As Nicolas Penneteau came
out, the Sweden international lifted the ball over his head but his
attempted back-heel finish was off-target.

Javier Pastore fired a better chance just wide moments later before the deadlock was finally broken in the 17th minute.

Despite
the hosts having the better openings, it was the visitors who took the
lead through Danic. PSG backed off Aboubakar too much and the striker
was able to to fire a low shot towards goal. Douchez parried the ball
away but it landed at the feet of Danic who volleyed first time into the
back of the net.

In the closing moments of the first half PSG’s
task was made that little bit harder as their recent poor disciplined
continued, although the red card issued to Silva was quite a
controversial one.

The defender was given a
straight red for dissent having disagreed with a decision made by
referee Castro, but the decision shocked the Parc des Princes.

The
hosts came back out after the break determined to put their title
charge back on course but struggled to break through the visitors’ solid
defensive line. Ibrahimovic and Lavezzi both had sights of goal but
they were unable to get their shots through to test Benneteau.

Valenciennes
could, and should, have extended their lead as they used their extra
man advantage to stretch PSG. Danic had a chance to grab his second goal
of the game but Douchez saved well, and three minutes later Colombian
Carlos Sanchez dragged a fantastic opportunity well wide of goal.

The
introduction of Kevin Gameiro sparked the hosts into life and chances
began to appear, however an inspired performance from Benneteau looked
like sending PSG to their third home defeat of the season.

However
with 10 minutes to play the home side finally broke through as
substitute Alex, who replaced Menez after Silva’s sending off, rose to
meet a Lavezzi corner and powered his header past Benneteau at the front
post, leaving PSG requiring just a point to secure the title.

Sun 5 May, 2013
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