PSG aims for bounce-back effort against Lille

Paris, France (SportsNetwork.com) – Paris Saint-Germain will aim to get back
to winning ways on Saturday when the capital club welcomes Lille to the Parc
des Princes.

PSG returns to league play hoping to keep its push for a third straight league
title on track after the club was knocked out of the Champions League at the
quarterfinal stage for the third consecutive season on Tuesday via a 5-1
aggregate loss to Barcelona.

PSG striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic returned to the field for Tuesday’s encounter
after serving a four-match ban for verbally lashing out at an official, but
not even the hulking Swedish forward could help PSG on this night.

It took Barcelona just 14 minutes to find the first goal of the night when
Andres Iniesta made an outstanding run from his side of the field, weaving his
way past several PSG defenders before threading a perfect through ball into
the path of Neymar. The Brazilian attacker rounded PSG goalkeeper Salvatore
Sirigu and slotted home.

It was 2-0 on the night and 5-1 on aggregate in the 34th minute. This time,
Dani Alves swung a tantalizing cross into the box from the right side of the
field. Neymar did well to slide in between two PSG defenders and nod home into
the bottom right corner, leaving Sirigu with little chance for a save.

PSG struggled to create many quality scoring chances throughout the night, but
the best opportunity came on the break in the 70th minute when Ibrahimovic
came charging down the field with Javier Pastore to his left.

Ibrahimovic elected to have a go himself from the top of the box, but
Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen was in perfect position to parry it
to safety.

“Barcelona were the better team over the two legs. I regret that we didn’t
score more goals because we had chances in attack,” said PSG manager Laurent
Blanc. “To compete with Barca, you have to be 100 percent and take your
chances in front of goal. This loss will hurt, but we have to overcome it. We
must now turn focus to the weekend’s match against Lille. We still have two
trophies to win in the league and the Coupe de France.”

Despite seeing their dream of winning four trophies this season dashed, PSG
can still claim three. With the Coupe de la Ligue already won, the club can
still hoist the Coupe de France as well as a third straight Ligue 1 title.

PSG defender Serge Aurier relayed the need to move on from the Champions
League loss and focus on the league.

“We want to be champions, they want to qualify for Europe, so it’s an exciting
match to play in and I hope we win on Saturday because we’re playing at home
in front of our fans,” explained the Ivory Coast international. “Despite our
loss in the Champions League, we want to win the league for our supporters so
no matter who we are playing, we want to be better than them, we want to win
everything.”

Elsewhere in France on Saturday, Bordeaux hosts Metz looking for a third win
in four opportunities, Caen hosts Guingamp aiming to continue its climb up the
table, while Evian hosts Bastia needing three points to put some distance
between themselves and the relegation zone.

Also on Saturday, Rennes hosts Nice, while Toulouse battles Nantes.

On Sunday, Saint Etienne hosts Montpellier, Lens tangles with Monaco and Reims
hosts Lyon.

Fridays action saw Jordan Ayew net a pair of goals as Lorient climbed out of
the bottom three with an impressive 5-3 win over Marseille at the Stade
Velodrome.