It was a cool UEFA Champions League evening at the Parc des Princes as Paris Saint-Germain dismissed FC Basel 3-0 to keep pace with Arsenal at the top of Group A.
Unai Emery’s men have now won their four game in a row but the outcome against the reigning Swiss champions could have gone a lot different if not for Alphonse Areola’s goalposts. Basel had no less than three shots cannon off the crossbar and in the first half, you have to say they were the better team. PSG got off to their customary slow start and Basel took advantage of a lackluster Parisien defense who looked confused at times.
As the half went on though, Paris Saint-Germain grew into the match and moved the ball quicker around the pitch, which seemed to unbalance the Swiss side. Minutes before halftime, Adrien Rabiot caught the defense out with an excellent through ball to Blaise Matuidi, who then crossed it into the box where Angel Di Maria eventually fired it past the Basel keeper for the first goal of the game and his first of the season.
Basel gave PSG another scre from a set-piece opportunity in the second half but the Rouge et Blue eventually settled into a much calmer rhythm as Basel were more open after conceding the first goal. Edinson Cavani passed up a good chance to score off a one-on-one opportunity (per the usual…) but a few minutes later, Lucas Moura met Serge Aurier’s deflected cross and scored his first Champions League goal of the season.
The game saw the entrance of new signings Jesé Rodriguez, Hatem Ben Arfa, and Grzegorz Krychowiak but with not a lot of time left on the clock. Jesé had perhaps the best scoring opportunity of the bunch but he wasted a golden opportunity to score his first goal in a PSG shirt.
Paris generally controlled the proceedings in the end and Cavani was rewarded for his hard work throughout the match by beautifully stroking a penalty after being brought down in the box. The goal levels the Uruguayan with George Weah as the second highest goalscorer for PSG in the Champions League with 16 goals, just four off leader Zlatan Ibrahimovic. It was also the first time the front three for Paris have all scored in the same match and we’ll hope to see more of the same in the future.
— FX Rallet (@FX_Rallet) October 19, 2016
The man of the match though has to go to Adrien Rabiot who despite receiving a ridiculous yellow card, had an excellent game. Playing alongside Marco Verratti and Blaise Matuidi, the young Frenchman looked very comfortable and supporters will hope to see more of this throughout the season. The presence of the ultras, who returned for this game, created a great homefield advantage and they’ll need to be in full voice once again as Paris are set to welcome rivals Olympique de Marseille on Sunday.
Photograph by FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images