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It is spring and it is the time when it becomes clear where the season will go. While Leicester City have underlined that they will surely be English Champions for the first time in the club’s history come May 15, Red Star today underlined their ambitions to push for promotion to Ligue 1. Or at least to stay within reach of second place.
Although this may be too much too soon, it is nonetheless allowed to dream. Another promotion would also mean that Red Star would play their home games closer to Paris: at Stade de France, ending a year in exile in Beauvais, which boasts no other highlights then an airport. It is questionable, whether this would convince the supporters to come back to watch their beloved team. Too big is the rift between club and fans after the move to Beauvais; only a move back to Stade Bauer would sooth the wound. Yet this seems unlikely as the ground is not fit for Ligue 2 and construction is nowhere near to commence. It is also unlikely that a new fanbase is going to grow to support the club regardless of where they are playing.
The visitors tonight, Paris FC, rooted at the bottom of the table, can only play to limit the damage in a season that has seen them completely out of their dept in this division. A promising start turned into a tumble in autumn, turned into free fall over winter and has put them 11 points adrift from safety in spring. They could learn something from Leicester, how to stage a big escape, yet they appear simply not equipped to do so.
The state of affairs of Parisian football is a sad prospect as Creteil, who went up in 2015 are also found at the bottom, though with 2 points behind the rescuing 17th. place, there is a least a chance there will be more Ligue 2 football come next season. And at least another chance for a derby, should Red Star stay in Ligue2.
Within 5 minutes of kick-off PFC were ahead. It set the rhythm of the match. Paris FC manned the midfield rather efficiently, building an orange wall of tall midfielders against which Red Star’s dribbling midfield had little chances to succeed. They got the score level on 20 minutes but never were on the front foot. It was still PFC playing and dominating. Though nothing with ultimate consequence came to pass. It was huff and puff on both sides which played into PFC’s hands. They accelerated just before half-time and were awarded a penalty that was cooly converted.
No changes at half-time except ends. Neither the way the game went: it was the same hectic affair with no breakthrough. This stalemate lasted for 25 minutes when a cross Aristeguieta was met by Bouazza whose header was well placed and which the PFC keeper could only let roll over his hand and into the net. The substitution of the tall centre forward Aristeguieta altered the game immediately. Suddenly there was movement upfront, a swagger that brought instant reward in bringing the game level. There was hope among the Red Star faithful in the stands, alas it was short lived.
A free kick from the left was diverted in superb manner by a defender into his own goal. It was what PFC needed as the pendulum now swang their way. With the momentum now decisively with PFC the best goal of the encounter came. It was 30 yard belter that hit the back of the net without any movement from the keeper. Red Star who came back twice, had no energy to stage a comeback; it would have been too much and not justified as they lagged behind PFC in every department.