Paris is a city full of people, occasionally too many. There’s hardly a time or place that it is not crowded. Visit any park as soon as spring comes and you won’t be able to find a quiet spot. What a difference a visit in the Stade Charlety makes.
A 20000 capacity ground for a third division club. There’ll be plenty of space to spread out and indulge in the fact that the next person is more than 15 metres away. Thankfully, the football ground of Paris FC is too big for the club in the present situation. This may continue for the time being: An indisposed Paris were taken apart by the visitors from the Opal Coast in the North of France. Boulogne’s most famous player without a doubt is Franck Ribéry. Yet, even without him they looked a handful as Paris had to experience last night.
The Opal Coast is a rocky stretch of coast named after the green-blueish colour of the water. While this may invoke romantic feelings for beach ramblers, there was nothing romantic about the incisiveness of Boulogne’s attacks last night.
These however came after an initial period of Parisian pressure in the opening 20 minutes of the encounter. Increasingly, the Northerners pushed Paris back and started to take control in midfield. Once this was established the attacks came rolling like the waves of côte d’opale.
And then it happened. The sloppiness in midfield – the Parisians had a day off it seems – was exploited by Boulogne. The wing play of Boulogne was excellent all night. And their first goal came from the right. The attack was lightning quick setting Gbizie free on the edge of box, who had the time, the confidence and the technique to curl a shot on goal. The ball hit the inside of the post: 1-0. At this stage it was fully deserved.
The reaction from Paris? It was hardly visible. There were fluid combinations but these bore no fruit as the Boulogne defence denied the home side having any benefit of it. Quite the opposite, Boulogne now dominated the game as they pleased. The possibly most beautiful attack of the match came just before half time.
The guests demonstrated that they not only used the wings effectively but that they also possess the nous to dribble their way through the middle; and moreover to apply a whole range of trickery to score a goal. This was the case for the second. Julien Begue, the small centre forward raced dribbling into the area taking a number of host defenders with him. A heel flick set him free on goal. Behind him Dembélé has run into the unmarked space. Begue was well aware of this and laid the ball off to his team mate with a flick of his ankle. 2-0.
This wonderful goal concluded the first half.
Half time talks can have catalyzing effects. However, if there was a severe address by the Parisian coach to his players, it was in vain. With only 3 minutes into the second half, Paris found themselves with a mountain to climb to get at least one point from this match. Shambolic defending left Demarconnay in goal no other chance than to come out his goal and punch the ball away. It deposed his goal; since the ball fell to a foe by the name of Rolland, who proved to possess very good eye sight, the ball rose to cover the distance of 30 metres from goal rapidly. The trajectory and the speed were enough: the ball flew into the net without a bounce. 3-0. More of such beautiful football, please!
This was a destruction. Even more so as Paris are top of the table with a cushion of 2 points ahead of Colmar and 3 to Red Star, their local rivals. The defence was exposed time and again and left question marks about the performance this season so far. It was the second defeat this season but in this fashion, talk of Ligue 2 is premature and should not even be allowed.
Some consolation came within the last 20 minutes when left winger Keita scrambled the ball over the line. Previously, the keeper had blocked a shot but could not fully control the ball. Keita easily converted. Yet, the manner how the goal was created and scored spoke volumes about the blue and whites. There was no decisiveness about the move. It lacked focus and purpose. Paris never controlled the game, always came a step too late to intercept passes and more often than they ever wished, the Parisian defence was exposed too easy.
1-0 35′ H. Gbizie; 2-0 44′ A. Dembele; 3-0 48′ E. Rolland; 3-1 73′ T. Keita; attendance: 550