Paris Saint-Germain’s first home game of the 2015-16 season could best be described as a competitive training session. Gazélec Ajaccio, playing in Ligue 1 for the first time in club history, traveled to the Parc des Princes hoping for a draw and left thoroughly thumped 2-0 by the French champions.
In the PSG starting lineup for the first time was Jean-Kévin Augustin. The 18-year-old performed well on the right side opposite Lucas Moura and found himself with a few scoring chances before being subbed off in the 69th minute. Kevin Trapp also made his second appearance in goal, further cementing his place as PSG’s first choice keeper.
Ajaccio came into the match as the clear underdog. Perhaps no other statistic sums up the dramatic gap between the two clubs than this one: Gazélec’s transfer budget this season (€13.8 million) is less than Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s annual salary (€15 million). I almost felt bad for the Corsican side as PSG paraded their €63 million signing of Angel Di Maria around midfield before kickoff. Almost…
From the whistle, PSG were the aggressor and dominated possession as many expected. Blaise Matuidi opened the scoring in the 11th minute with a left-footed laser into the Gazélec goal. Then he went on to this amazing little celebration.
Ten minutes later, it was Thiago to Thiago for the second goal. Silva sprinted from the top of the box and met a tantalizing cross from Motta to head the ball past Clément Maury. It seemed like Paris would go on to score a minimum of 12 goals but Edinson Cavani would make sure that dream result would not happen. The Uruguayan striker wasted chance after chance and when he did get a shot on target Maury was there to deny him. This was an ideal game for Cavani to pad his goalscoring statistics but instead left frustrated by his wasted opportunities. Marco Verratti bossed the midfield like he so often does. His control was world class and his effort, sliding in numerous times to keep possession, was applauded by Paris supporters around the world. And to the surprise of many, the Italian made it through 90 minutes without picking up a booking! To be fair though, the Ajaccio players rarely had the ball long enough for Verratti to put in any sort of menacing challenge.
The second half didn’t conjure much inspiration from either side. Gazélec never mounted any sort of threatening attack, despite 2-nil being THE MOST DANGEROUS SCORELINE IN FOOTBALL, and Paris seemed bored at times. Serge Aurier had perhaps the best chance to score that elusive third goal with his diving header off a set piece but he somehow managed to put it wide despite being nearly unmarked.
The match eventually fizzled out and PSG walked away with the three points and currently sit atop the Ligue 1 table with 6 points total—the first time the capital club have won their first two league games since the 2005/06 season.
It’s hard to take too much away from this game because of the opponent. This was a match PSG was expected to win comfortably and they did that—finishing with 70% possession and 91% pass accuracy. Things should get a little tougher for Paris over the next couple weeks though. They travel to Montpellier this Friday and then visit Monaco on August 30. With Ibrahimovic and Di Maria expected to come back into the squad for those two matches, it will be interesting to see who Blanc drops out of the starting lineup.