Angers 0-1 Paris Saint-Germain: Kurzawa sends champions to Ligue 1 summit

By Sports Desk January 16, 2021

Paris Saint-Germain moved to the top of Ligue 1 as Layvin Kurzawa's solitary goal sealed a 1-0 win over Angers on Saturday. 

With head coach Mauricio Pochettino self-isolating after testing positive for COVID-19, assistant coach Jesus Perez took charge of the champions at Stade Raymond Kopa.

He looked set to oversee a frustrating draw before Kurzawa's first goal of the season 20 minutes from time secured back-to-back league wins following last weekend's victory over Brest. 

The result moved PSG two points clear of Lyon at the Ligue 1 summit, although Rudi Garcia's side can reclaim top spot if they overcome Metz on Sunday.

The hosts started in a confident mood and Pierrick Capelle forced Keylor Navas into a smart save after just two minutes. 

PSG belatedly woke from their slumber, with Kylian Mbappe clipping over after racing onto Neymar's pass before the Brazil international saw a close-range effort deflected into the side netting. 

Moise Kean then glanced a header wide as PSG ended the first half having failed to register a single shot on target. 

Mbappe flashed a strike into the side netting shortly after the interval, while Navas superbly kept out Lois Diony's diving header at the other end.

Paul Bernardoni diverted Mbappe's effort wide after the France star had been played clean through by Neymar, but the Angers goalkeeper could do little about Kurzawa's winner. 

Alessandro Florenzi's right-wing cross was deflected into the left-back's path and he powered home a fine volley from eight yards to secure PSG's 10th win in 11 games against Angers.

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    The big-spending French powerhouse could enter the market to make a splash if the superstar 22-year-old forward exits.

    PSG are currently in a Ligue 1 title fight and fell in the Champions League semi-finals.

     

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    L'Equipe claims that PSG have put Bayern Munich forward Robert Lewandowski firmly on their radar, should Kylian Mbappe leave.

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    L'Equipe reports that PSG will want to be proactive and land a major signing if Mbappe exits and the Bundesliga top scorer is top of their list, even if Bayern are determined to keep him.

    Lewandowski is contracted with Bayern until 2023 although there have been some rumblings about entertaining a move elsewhere.

     

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  • Ronaldo was happy to be substituted, insists Juve boss Pirlo Ronaldo was happy to be substituted, insists Juve boss Pirlo

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    The Portuguese superstar – who slotted home the opener after his penalty was saved – was withdrawn for Alvaro Morata with the Bianconeri leading 2-1 after Juan Cuadrado had restored the hosts' lead following Romelu Lukaku's leveller from the spot. 

    Rodrigo Bentancur was dismissed for the hosts after just 55 minutes for picking up two yellow cards and intense Inter pressure finally told seven minutes from full-time when Giorgio Chiellini bundled into his own net. 

    There was to be one final twist, though, as Cuadrado powered home from the spot in the 88th minute after he had been brought down inside the area by Ivan Perisic. 

    The result moved Juve into the top four, although they could be usurped ahead of next weekend's final matchday if Napoli overcome Fiorentina on Sunday.

    It was just the third time Ronaldo has been substituted this season, but Pirlo was adamant his talisman took the withdrawal well. 

    "I think it was the first time he was happy to be subbed off," he told Sky Sport Italia. "We were one man down, and he'd have been chasing shadows. He was happy and smiling in the dressing room."

    It has been a dismal first season in charge for Pirlo, with a Champions League last-16 exit followed by a tepid surrender of their nine-year stranglehold on the Serie A crown to Inter.

    It remains to be seen whether he will still in charge for the 2021-22 campaign but, if he stays, Pirlo wants to see more of the spirit shown in the win over Antonio Conte's side next term. 

    "We should have had the same determination and desire to fight on every ball also in the other games of the season," he added.

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    "This group has a lot to give, we have many young players, but playing for Juventus means having more responsibility. It takes time to adapt.

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    Youri Tielemans' stunning 25-yard strike just after the hour proved the difference in a tight contest.

    A VAR intervention denied Chelsea a late equaliser, with Ben Chilwell shown to be fractionally offside before his shot ricocheted into the net off Wes Morgan.

    Tuchel felt some of Chelsea's play was too "hectic" during a scrappy first half, but he did not have many words of pointed criticism for a team who will get another shot at silverware in the Champions League final against Manchester City in two weeks' time.

    "Of course we're disappointed, but we're not angry with our performance or our boys," Tuchel said at a post-match news conference.

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    "We did not allow any half-chances, any chances. I was absolutely happy with the work rate and intensity."

    Chelsea have been on a sharp upwards trajectory since Tuchel succeeded Frank Lampard in January, but this was their second dispiriting 1-0 defeat in a week after going down to Arsenal at Stamford Bridge.

    That loss left their top-four hopes in the balance and a rematch with Leicester on home turf on Tuesday in the Premier League means there is no time to dwell on Wembley disappointment.

    "We will talk about what we did good and what we can do better to be ready for Tuesday," Tuchel said.

    "This is it in sports. There is no team that never loses, no player or no single sports guy. It is about bouncing back, showing mentality and belief again.

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    "We have enough to do. We cannot regret too long."

    Reece James' wayward pass that led to Tielemans' winner struck Leicester's Ayoze Perez on the thigh and bounced up to hit his arm, but Chelsea cries for handball were waved away by referee Michael Oliver – in line with the present guidance.

    "I didn't see it, the players said straight away that it was handball," Tuchel added.

    "But I'm not an expert on handball anymore. I don't know when it's hands or when it's not.

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