Champions League

UCL: Paris Saint-Germain Punches Ticket To Round Of 16

Paris Saint-Germain's supporters cheer their team during the UEFA Champions League group A football match between FC Basel and Paris Saint-Germain on November 1, 2016 at the St Jakob-Park in Basel. / AFP / FRANCK FIFE (Photo credit should read FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images)
UCL: Paris Saint-Germain Punches Ticket To Round Of 16

Unai Emery’s Paris Saint-Germain proved once again why compared to the Swiss Super League and Bulgarian First Division, Ligue 1 is superior with a dramatic 2-1 win over Urs Fischer’s FC Basel. Blaise Matuidi opened up the scoring off a deflection in the box in the 43rd minute of play. After Basel’s Luca Zuffi delivered a scintillating equalizer in the 76th minute, the new boy, Thomas Meunier, scored a bending volley hitting the top right corner, eluding goalkeeper Tomas Vaclik, in the 90th minute.

The scoreline will go down as quite flattering in spite of the implications. Paris won a number of categories, including possession (65.8% to 34.2%), shots (19 to nine), shots on target (eight to two), successful passes (90.8% to 77.3%), total passes (683 to 343) and corner (10 to three). Stat domination for the visitors was blunted by brave defending and wasteful finishing in the attacking third.

 

“Our aim is to go through and finish top of the group,” said defender Marquinhos. “It’s important to have competition in Ligue 1 for us, because that means we won’t slacken off and will stay focussed. It will allow us to improve.”

 

“We want to improve our play,” said Emery. “That’s for sure. But the team is improving. We have played well in some games, and not so well in others, but the most important thing now is to win. So yes, it’s better to win by playing well. The team defends well, keeps possession, but there is still some work to do and confidence will help us improve.

“I know the club I’m at. It’s not pressure, but rather demands. We have the demand of winning, of working. There is a collective effort to do that, and we go into every game to win it. The Club, the team is ready to cope with those demands.”

Paris’s next match is on Nov. 6 against Christian Gourcuff’s Stade Rennais FC. Rennes are just three points adrift of Paris Saint Germain, sitting fifth on the ladder with a record of 6-2-3 (20 points). The attack is led by Polish striker Kamil Grosicki, who has three goals on the season.

Kickoff is scheduled for 11:45 a.m. PT/2:45 p.m. ET. Here are 10 Bold Predictions for the match between Paris Saint-Germain and Stade Rennais FC.

  • Kamil Grosicki will score for Stade Rennais FC.
  • Alphonse Areola will make under five saves.
  • Blaise Matuidi will score for Paris Saint-Germain.
  • Thomas Meunier will score for Paris Saint-Germain.
  • A goal will be scored in the last 15 minutes and stoppage time.
  • No goals will be scored in the first 15 minutes.
  • At least 45 fouls will be whistled.
  • At least five cards will be issued.
  • A player will be sent off.
  • Benoit Costil will make at least four saves.

Paris Saint-Germain 2, Stade Rennais FC 1

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@joryansalazar

Jo-Ryan Salazar is a writer for The Stoppage Time, a soccer blog powered by Azteca Soccer. A supporter of the Los Angeles Galaxy since 1996 and a committed supporter since 2002, Jo-Ryan also follows Chelsea FC, Melbourne Victory, FC Tokyo and Paris Saint-Germain. Apart from soccer, Jo-Ryan is an administrative assistant for a local nonprofit in Long Beach, California and also does photography, photo-editing and fictional writing.

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