Reims uncorked as Gameiro sends PSG top

Posted by Jonathan Johnson

Kevin GameiroGettyImagesPSG's Kevin Gameiro scores against Reims

Kevin Gameiro proved yet again that he still plays an important role at the Parc des Princes as Paris Saint-Germain defeated Reims to go top of the table on Saturday. Gameiro netted the hosts' lone goal and the capital club narrowly scraped through against their newly promoted visitors despite a handful of good chances to extend their lead.

As anticipated, Carlo Ancelotti made a host of changes to his side after a mini injury crisis had threatened to spoil his midfield selection, in addition to the suspension of Marco Verratti. Clement Chantome, Mathieu Bodmer and Thiago Motta were all sidelined, leaving only Blaise Matuidi and Nene as the recognised midfielders in a selection that saw Maxwell and Gregory Van der Wiel initially deployed as wide men.

- Gameiro goal downs Reims

Gameiro, who had seized his previous opportunity against Sochaux in week seven with a well-taken double, added his third in as many league appearances as the capital club edged Reims in a less-than sparkling encounter. PSG though were indebted to goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu who saved a first-half Diego penalty to keep the score at 0-0 going into the break.

Reims arrived on the back of some champagne form despite having failed to register an away win in their opening eight games. Les Parisiens were expected to ease to a comfortable victory but the visitors deserve credit for the way they approached the match, taking control of the game early in the first half with Sirigu forced into a double-save from Gaetan Courtet's header laid on by Christopher Glombard, and Diego's follow-up.

Blaise Matuidi enjoyed the "game of his career" in midweek when France stole a late point against Spain and he carried that form into this game with a superb second half showing. One member of Ancelotti's trusted midfield trio, his confidence was high and the midfielder set about making the difference by forcing Agassa into an early save before clipping the crossbar having finally beaten the Togolese net minder.

Matuidi continued to dominate proceedings as Jeremy Menez entered the fray, a surprise substitute alongside Javier Pastore, Christope Jallet and Momo Sissoko given the lack of available options in midfield. First the former Saint-Etienne midfielder crossed for Ibrahimovic to head narrowly wide before following-up himself, only to see his goalbound effort deflected over by Mandi who at this point was Reims' saviour. Menez then saw his powerful effort following a mazy run cannon off the post as PSG turned the screw, and just when it looked like Ancelotti's side might finish the day frustrated, Gameiro came up trumps with the hosts' winner.

Deployed at right-back for the majority of the afternoon after starting in midfield, Brazilian full-back Maxwell found space wide on the right and lofted a perfect cross for Gameiro who nodded in from close-range despite Ibrahimovic's efforts to beat him to the ball.

A flurry of late chances followed for the hosts but Reims could have been level immediately after Gameiro had netted. Former Lorient teammate Courtet going close from another Souare cross and Julien Toudic clipping the bar with an acrobatic effort that bounced up off the turf. 'Ibra' missed a late chance after being played in by Menez and the Frenchman then proceeded to waste two fantastic late chances, the latter a nonchalant chipped effort that would have put the game to bed.

So, PSG march into top spot for the first time this season and Ancelotti's squad rotation gamble has managed to keep a number of key players fresh for the midweek trip to Zagreb. A late injury to Mamadou Sakho will have spoilt the mood a little though. Marseille will reclaim top spot if they avoid defeat at rock-bottom Troyes on Sunday night but for at least 24 hours, the capital club have reached Ligue 1's summit. Don't expect them to relinquish that grip anytime soon.

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