Ligue 1: PSG mug St Etienne to claim vital win
ST ETIENNE, December 23 (Ligue 1) - Pegguy Luyindula bagged the only goal of the game as PSG climbed out of the drop zone with a fortuitous win over St Etienne on Sunday.
The Parisians seemed to be on course for a rare away defeat after St Etienne did everything bar score in a pulsating yet one-sided first half.
But, having been saved by their woodwork twice and their goalkeeper on countless occasions, Paul Le Guen's side came back off the ropes and stunned the hosts with Luyindula's bullet header in the 51st minute.
David Ngog blew a golden opportunity to make it 2-0 a few moments later, but irrespective of that reprieve St Etienne will be at a loss to explain a defeat which leaves them languishing in 10th place.
PSG, meanwhile, climbed from 18th to 16th after taking their away record to five wins and three draws in nine games.
However, despite PSG`s formidable form on the road, they looked hopelessly lost in the first half.
By the ninth minute, they already had a post to thank for keeping out David Gigliotti`s 25-yard drive, and four minutes later Pascal Feindouno wreaked havoc with a dipping drive.
Luyindula stemmed the tide with a one-on-one that was smothered as the game reached the half-hour mark, but, in the face of several further Gigliotti efforts, a Geoffrey Dernis shot that hit the post, and a Araujo Ilan bicycle kick that skimmed the bar, PSG looked out of their depth.
The second half seemed to be heading the same way as the first when Dernis had an effort saved in the 48th minute, but then PSG burst into life.
Didier Digard engineered some space in the middle of the pitch before playing the ball into the path of Ceara on the right wing.
The Brazilian took a touch and delivered a superb inswinging cross into the six-yard box which Luyindula, rising highest, powered into the keeper`s bottom right corner.
It nearly got worse for St Etienne when Ngog somehow poked Jerome Rothen's superb low cross wide from in front of goal, but the let-off was not utilised as St Etienne continued to waste chances.
After just two games in charge of Rennes, Guy Lacombe is developing a reputation as something of a draw specialist.
The former Paris St Germain boss took charge for the first time in midweek, overseeing a 1-1 result against Dinamo Zagreb which left his new charges dumped out of the UEFA Cup.
This time they played out a goalless stalemate at fellow UEFA Cup flops Toulouse - a creditable effort which brought to an end a run of six league defeats for the visitors as well as a run of three wins for the hosts.
The match finally came to life after 15 minutes when Toulouse midfielder Fode Mansare took the ball through the Rennes defence before being denied by goalkeeper Simon Pouplin.
Rennes went straight down the other end and Olivier Sorlin unleashed a shot at goal from a well worked free-kick, but Nicolas Douchez punched clear.
The best chance of the half came six minutes before the break and it went the way of Toulouse.
Nicolas Dieuze's cross was headed on by Mauro Cetto to Pantxi Sirieix, whose header was deflected onto the post by defender Stephane Mbia.
Toulouse continued where they left off after the break, with Mansare delivering a superb ball to Johan Elmander at the near post, who was denied by a fine stop from Pouplin.
At the other end, Jimmy Briand used his pace to get past Cetto but could not dribble past keeper Douchez.
The final chance of the match went to Rennes with seven minutes remaining as Sylvain Wiltord played in Mickael Pagis, but his shot brushed against the outside of the post.
The game between Lens and Lille was postponed.