France: Sochaux stunned Paris Saint-Germain at Stade Bonal on Sunday night as they produced an unlikely 3-2 victory over the league leaders to throw open the Ligue 1 title race.
Alex gave the visitors the lead against the run of play midway through the first half, but Sebastien Roudet deservedly levelled for Eric Hely’s side. The hosts played in a swashbuckling manner that belied their lowly position in Le Championnat and took the lead in the second half through debutant Giovanni Sio, and though a Jerome Roussilon own goal brought PSG level, Sochaux dug deep to find a winning goal from Cedric Bakambu to cap an absolute firecracker of a match.
Somewhat against the run of play, PSG grabbed the lead. Having put together a couple of dangerous moves in the preceding two minutes, the visitors moved into the ascendancy when Clement Chantome’s corner was met by Alex, whose header looped gracefully into the top corner of the net.
Sochaux never looked concerned by this deficit, though, and they quickly got back on terms. Fine work from Ryad Boudebouz, whose performance was of the very highest level, sliced open a febrile PSG back four with an incisive pass to Roudet down the left channel to poke an accurate finish into the corner of the net.
Early in the second half, the adventurous hosts worked their way into a thoroughly deserved lead. A terrific one-two between Roudet and Sio sprung open the visitors’ defensive line again, and though the debutant’s finish was not struck with the most conviction, it was good enough to beat Salvatore Sirigu, who had an uncharacteristically poor game in the visitors’ goal.
Les Lionceaux merited the three points as they were simply outplaying their more illustrious guests, yet they would succumb in an ugly manner from another corner kick. Mamadou Sakho and Ezequiel Lavezzi both reacted quickly to try and turn the ball goalward, and with Alex lurking Roussilon could only turn the ball lamely into his own net.
Just as it seemed that their hopes for three points had been ended, the magnificent Boudebouz inspired another crucial intervention. The Algeria international’s delivery from the right was knocked back across goal by Sloan Privat for fellow substitute Bakambu to tap home a winning goal.
Sochaux had gone so close to securing three points prior to PSG’s second as young right-back Sebastien Corchia bent a fierce free kick off the inside of Sirigu’s post and had to watch as the ball shot across the goalmouth.
The Parc des Prince side offered far less than their hosts in this encounter, with Sio’s disallowed goal after five minutes a real taste of what was to come for the league leaders.
Indeed, it would take Carlo Ancelotti’s men the best part of 30 minutes before they fashioned any kind of threat. Twice pieces of Ibrahimovic magic created chances for Ezequiel Lavezzi and Clement Chantome, yet the Swede was frustratingly peripheral in this encounter, and PSG could not make up for their star man’s lack of form.
They mustered a late push, with Gameiro and then 16-year-old debutant substitute Kingsley Coman going close in the closing five minutes.
PSG remain three points clear at the summit of Ligue 1, but with Le Classique to come next weekend against third-placed Olympique de Marseille, the race for the crown remains very much in the balance.