Paris Saint-Germain put down a marker for their title hopes today as they dispatched Lyon with a gritty performance at the Parc des Princes. It was rarely pretty and rarely exciting, but it got the job done, and three points are three points, especially when they come over Lyon.
The first half saw the visitors get most of the play, but PSG had by far the better chances. Javier Pastore hit the post and really ought to have won a penalty when he was fouled by Jimmy Briand in the area - the referee, bizarrely, pointed for a free kick more than a yard further from goal than where the foul occurred. Going forward Lyon were sleepy and stifled, and while a number of close calls threatened Sirigu Salvatore's goal the former Palermo keeper only had one save to make all half.
It was a match, in other words, that really needed a goal to spark it into life. It got one in the 64th minute, as Pastore beat Bakary Kone before sliding a neat finish past Hugo Lloris at his near post. From then on, the story was missed chances. Kevin Gameiro botched a one-on-one with Lloris. Briand hit a smashed effort from range than Sirigu did well to keep out. Bafetimbi Gomis somehow missed a free header four yards from goal that would have put Lyon back in the game.
An open game with a 1-0 lead is basically the last thing in the world that manager Antoine Kombouare would have wanted, and he tried to shore things up by swapping Christophe Jallet in for Gameiro. Instead of improving the defence, Jallet put the game away, volleying home a free kick swung to the far post by Nene as injury time closed in. It was a fine goal and worthy of ending the match, and PSG could see things out fairly comfortably afterwards. They're now three points clear at the top of the table.