Paris Saint-Germain's Javier Pastore celebrates after scoring his side's first goal vs. Metz on Friday night.
PATRICK HERTZOG/AFP/Getty Images
Paris Saint-Germain survived a dramatic blip early in the second half to beat Metz 3-2 and move, at least temporarily, top of Ligue 1.
The visitors were 2-0 up with little more than 15 minutes on the clock, Javier Pastore’s opener added to by Gaetan Bussmann’s unfortunate own goal. Remarkably, two penalties in quick succession allowed Modibo Maiga to draw Metz level but Ezequiel Lavezzi poached a late winner to take PSG ahead of rivals Marseille, who play Bordeaux on Sunday.
Guirane N’Daw’s early effort for Metz failed to unduly test Salvatore Sirigu and PSG soon took the lead. The build-up to Pastore’s first league goal of the season was far from pretty as a succession of Metz players contrived to repeatedly present the ball to the Argentinian, who then deftly clipped it over goalkeeper Johann Carrasso.
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And worse was to follow for the home side as Lavezzi’s left-wing free-kick cleared team-mate Marquinhos only for the ball to strike the knee of Bussmann and bounce past Carrasso for the second goal. PSG were forced into an early change when Yohan Cabaye trudged off in the 21st minute to be replaced by Clement Chantome.
N’Daw fired a free-kick into the Parisian wall and Florent Malouda’s powerful drive flashed wide of the far post as Metz sought a way back into the game. Teenager Adrien Rabiot thought he had marked his first start of the season with a goal, but he was offside when Zlatan Ibrahimovic fed the ball into his path.
N’Daw headed against the outside of a post before Carrasso denied Pastore to keep Metz in it at the interval – and they were gifted an early chance from the spot in the second period. Substitute Serguei Krivets tumbled over Rabiot’s clumsy challenge – though the forward may have handled the ball beforehand – and Maiga sent Sirigu the wrong way.
And when referee Fredy Fautrel pointed to the PSG spot again just over three minutes later, following a handball by Gregory van der Wiel, the on-loan West Ham striker picked out the bottom left corner again to level the scores. Carrasso made an excellent near-post stop from Lavezzi while Sirigu also had to be alert to deny Maiga a hat-trick from a header that bounced awkwardly in front of him.
But the champions re-took the lead despite Carrasso’s heroics as the keeper dived to parry Lavezzi’s firm sidefoot and recovered to block Ibrahimovic’s follow-up. The ball may have been spinning back inside the far post but Lavezzi lunged in to make sure.
Carrasso made another superb double save to keep out Edinson Cavani’s chip and Ibrahimovic’s blast, and Pastore tricked his way superbly between two defenders before shooting wide of the far post, but Laurent Blanc’s side had done enough.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.