Blaise Matuidi scored for the second match running as Paris Saint-Germain maintained their 100 per cent start to the Ligue 1 season with a laboured 1-0 win at Montpellier.
France midfielder Matuidi was on target in last week’s 2-0 win over Gazelec Ajaccio and settled Friday’s tight contest with a well-taken finish on the hour mark to make it three wins from three for the champions.
PSG were just about worthy of their victory but Laurent Blanc will hope that Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Angel di Maria are fit for next week’s trip to Monaco to provide his team with an attacking spark that was missing here.
The visitors were also hindered by the early loss of Javier Pastore to injury in a disjointed first half in which Ezequiel Lavezzi wasted a good opportunity.
Serge Aurier and Edinson Cavani had goals ruled out for offside either side of half-time, but it made little difference thanks to Matuidi – who also scored in the 2-1 win in last season’s corresponding fixture.
PSG tested the water with a sixth-minute free-kick when a dipping David Luiz effort caused trouble for goalkeeper Jonathan Ligali.
The visitors were forced into an early reshuffled when Pastore limped off and was replaced by Adrien Rabiot – who was back after a one-match ban.
An attack shorn of Di Maria, Ibrahimovic and now Pastore struggled for creativity and PSG had little to show for their possession.
PSG did have the ball in the back of the net when Thiago Motta’s free-kick was headed home by Aurier, but the full-back was clearly offside.
Montpellier then almost gifted PSG the lead when Jonas Martin mis-controlled Maxwell’s low cross in the area, but the on-rushing Lavezzi flashed his shot wide from the edge of the box when he should have hit the target.
Visiting keeper Kevin Trapp had to be alert just after the break with a fine save to prevent Ramy Bensebaini’s header from Martin.
PSG had another goal ruled out in the 55th minute. Rabiot’s throughball was collected by Cavani and he rounded Ligali before slotting into the empty net, but the Uruguay striker was deemed just offside with replays suggesting it was a tight call.
It was a case of third time lucky on the hour, though, as Matuidi made the breakthrough.
The referee played a good advantage after Lavezzi was fouled backheeling the ball into the left of the area and Maxwell laid into the path of Matuidi, who swept home first time past Ligali.
PSG protected their slender advantage well, although there was heart-in-mouth moment when Anthony Mounier went to ground in the area from Aurier’s challenge but the Ivory Coast defender appeared to win the ball.
Substitute Jean-Kevin Augustin nearly scored his first competitive goal in the closing stages when played in by Lucas Moura, but Ligali stopped the teenager’s shot low to his left with his legs.
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