Mauricio Pochettino’s tenure in Paris has gotten off to a slow start as Paris Saint-Germain could only tie Saint-Etienne 1-1 at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard on Wednesday afternoon.
Romain Hamouma gave the hosts the lead early on, but Moise Kean was able to equalize for Paris a few moments later. It seemed like viewers were set for a thrilling encounter, but the contest slowed to a halt and never really got going afterwards.
All in all, it was a performance that proved Pochettino has a lot of work on his hands.
Story of the match
Saint-Etienne came close to taking the lead early on as a corner was headed straight towards goal by Harold Moukoudi. Thankfully for Keylor Navas, the effort was close enough to him that he could make the reflex save.
PSG almost made them pay instantly as Moise Kean got in behind moments later, but he was denied by Jessy Moulin who closed down the angle very well. The goalkeeper would be called upon once again soon after, as he had to get a hand on Marquinhos’ bullet header to tip it over the bar.
The home side took the lead in the 19th minute. It all came courtesy of a mistake at the back from Idrissa Gana Gueye who slipped on the edge of his own area. The ball eventually made its way to Romain Hamouma, and he finished the move off in style, chipping Navas from close range.
They wouldn’t be in front for long as PSG equalized in no time. It was a well worked goal, with Kylian Mbappe getting free out wide before picking out the late run of Marco Verratti into the area. He then laid the ball off to his compatriot Kean, who turned and rifled home from a few yards out.
The contest calmed down going into halftime, and the only chance created before the break came via a volley from Mathieu Debuchy on the edge of the area. Navas made the save, though, and Ander Herrera cleared away the rebound.
Both sides started the second half quite slowly, but PSG were especially sloppy.
Saint-Etienne nearly made the most of their spell in front, but a header from Denis Bouanga only rattled off the crossbar and out of play. That seemed to wake up the away side, as Kean came close on the other side of the pitch but just couldn’t keep his shot down.
Substitute Pablo Sarabia skied an effort in the final minutes, which meant that the scoreline stayed at 1-1. Saint-Etienne will obviously be much happier with the point, while PSG will look to improve going forward.
Work to do
This performance will serve as a reality check for Paris.
It’s easy to blame the manager in football, which is why many expected things to magically get better when Thomas Tuchel was fired a few weeks ago. However, this showing from the PSG players proves they are the ones who have to take responsibility for their poor run of results.
No one stepped up this time around, and Les Parisiens deserved to drop points as a result. Kylian Mbappe and Angel Di Maria went quiet for most of the contest, while the midfield didn’t help much either. Keylor Navas was the only one who could come out of this game with his head held high, as his saves kept his side in the match.
Pochettino knows he’s got a tough road ahead of him, and he’ll need to change something soon if he wants to avoid more performances like this.
Man of the match - Romain Hamouma
The experienced attacker was able to showcase his quality on the night as he played a key role in the result.
Scoring the opener in sublime finish, the Frenchman managed to stay composed in front of goal and chip Navas from inside the area. His impact went beyond the scoresheet as well, as he was the one constantly on the ball for Saint-Etienne, dribbling past defenders and opening up space for teammates.
Despite all the talent PSG have at their disposal, it was Hamouma who was the best player out on the pitch.