Paris Saint-Germain achieved a tremendously important win against the undeniable French football champions, Olympique Lyonnais (1-0).
The “Parisiennes” dethroned the Lyon behemoths and now lead the Division by one point thanks to Marie-Antoinette Katoto’s goal just 10 minutes into the game.
It was Lyon’s first defeat in over 80 domestic games! Also, it was quite remarkable how they remained undefeated in the D1 since December 12, 2016. Back then, PSG beat them again with the same score.
Those two defeats are the only two times where Lyon failed to secure the victory in 125 games played!
Other than that, Lyon count one more defeat against PSG. This came in the Coupe de France final on May 31, 2018. The only team that has managed to beat them in three occasions in over 300 games was the team from the French capital.
The road to crowning a league champion this season is still far off, but let’s take a closer look at what this particular victory means for PSG at the moment.
The exploitation of Echouafni’s mastermind tactics
The former French national team’s manager has done a remarkable job since taking on the Parisiennes in 2018. After Friday’s victory against Lyon, Olivier Echouafni became the first non-previous Lyon coach to ever beat the Lyonnais!
All his predecessors (Farid Benstiti and Patrice Lair) blissed to beat Lyon, taking all the credit for their achievements. Now, it’s high time for Echouafni to receive the credit his work demands.
His side have evolved into a goal-scoring machine, as they have already scored 37 goals and only conceded once. That is an average 4.1 goals per game this season.
The match-winning scorer, Katoto, is leading the goalscoring table for her team with eight goals in nine games. Together with Kadidiatou Diani and Nadia Nadim, she sits as the second joint top scorer in D1.
Although Katoto led the capital’s side to victory, the midfield three of PSG asserted themselves over Lyon’s all-star half-line. Luana, Dabritz and Geyoro were much stronger and ran after almost every ball in the midfield. The spectacular trio managed to make the opponent’s stars Kumagai, Henry (both received yellow cards) and Marozsan look helpless to react.
Echouafni’s tactics were crystal clear. He ordered his side to stay high on the pitch, transferring the pressure to Lyon’s players who looked for the long ball as a way out.
The unparalleled collective strength which arose from PSG showed that Lyon is vulnerable.
PSG proved that Lyon are not indestructible
In March 2012, Qatar Sports Investments purchased the remaining 30% stake to become PSG’s sole shareholder. Since then, the club has made extraordinary leaps.
PSG have finished seven times as runners-up in the D1, three times as runners-up in the Coupe de France and two times as runners-up in the UEFA Women’s Champions League.
Still, they still lack a major trophy to embrace their high work-rate on the pitch. But as Jessica Houara said: “Paris’s problem in the first few years was a lack of continuity.”
Since September 13, when the Parisiennes stumbled against Bordeaux in a goalless draw in Stade Jean-Antoine Moueix, they have gone on a seven-match unbeaten league run without conceding one goal.
The club from the capital found themselves falling two points behind but never let their target slip away. They indeed made a successful comeback to the top of the league. Plus, PSG count a far better goal difference than Lyon (+35 to +26).
Their stellar football display against the seven-times Champions League winners prove that PSG can give Lyon a run for their money.
Counting the emergence of WSL in England, Bayern and Wolfsburg in Germany, Barcelona and Atletico Madrid in Spain and Juventus in Italy, Lyon should also start feeling the heat in the Champions League before it’s too late.
Winning one match doesn’t grant you immunity
Echouafni’s team will have to soon put their triumph behind before moving on. Beating Lyon in one game is something, but not everything.
There are 13 more league games yet to come. Their second meeting in March might be considered crucial for both teams given they both continue winning.
Amandine Henry’s problem with France’s head coach Corinne Diacre might have distracted the club and disorganized Jean-Luc Vasseur’s side from putting out their best selves on the pitch.
It’s almost sure that Lyon have a unique way of turning things around. PSG will have to be up for the challenge when this occurs.
For lovers of the beautiful game, something special is brewing at the top of D1. This rivalry may push the two sides for perfection, as they continue on the hunt for both domestic and international success.