Marie-Antoinette Katoto scored a hat-trick and Jordyn Huitema added a brace, while Formiga and Kadidiatou Diani also scored in Paris Saint-Germain’s 7-0 Champions League first-leg win over SC Braga.
BEFORE THE MATCH
I expected PSG to win. In the female game in UEFA, the gulf between the champions of the big countries, meaning France/Germany, to champions of the lesser is physically or tactically visible or delineated. If you watched enough female soccer you will know this very well. But as in the male game, how a big team wins exposes what they are not doing well, which can haunt them later; at the least, it offer no surprise if they fail later. GOALS Marie Antoinette Katoto.
circa 7th minute- It was earned by Grace Geyoro who just cut through the Braga defenders with her dribble. The passing from PSG in midfield was not strong for the goal. Marie Antoinette Katoto circa 35th minute- It started by a mistake from the Braga keeper. She basically passed it to Diani or Geyoro whom after made a cross that was deflected. Katoto did well to control it and show composure, which the French coach Diacre, seem to think she do not have.
Formiga goal circa 41st minute- It was set piece from DaBritz that found Formiga. Formiga used a masterful touch. But this goal was the first PSG scored based on PSG quality, not Braga error. Formiga is very experienced, the Brazilian living legend is one of those rare true footballers. But, the goal took to long to occur.
Katoto circa 62nd minute- She earned a hat trick. Diani side Katoto are so athletic, teams that are not used to two athletically strong attacking forwards are in for a rare problem. It was in the end a free header, but Braga defenders had enough of running after or physically handling Katoto. Katoto side Geyoro came off for Huitema side Baltimore, good experience for the less experienced or powerful players.
circa 93rd minute – Her first goal, Baltimore did well to offer the chance to assist, which I suggest Huitema take against better opposition; but she took advantage of the tired Braga defenders. The possible one touch goal before was a good sign to the connections, Baltimore to Huitema can have in the future, Baltimore the Diani, Huitema the Katoto.
Huitema second goal circa 94th minute – Her timed run and dummy from a teammate was excellent to set it up, but her poise was nice. She has a nice touch on her. She isn’t the fastest or strongest, but she has that goal poacher style, that is great off the bench for PSG. Good depth sign from the parisian powerhouses.
After the match Katoto started the match with a miscommunication to Geyoro. PSG was very sloppy in their ball control or coordination to start the match and even after the 7th minute goal. But they took advantage of their individual ability to cut through Braga markers, in most one against one situation, to destabilize and imbalance Braga. Braga’s Diana Gomez was stretchered off circa 13th minute with a leg injury but she came on three minute later.
Braga players to be fair, did not have the athleticism to run past PSG markers; but they had a passing calm that retained possession in defense. When PSG face a better team in the competition attacking wise, if faced with the same passing in the defensive setup as Braga, PSG will be force to play counterattack, which may favor Geyoro or Katoto; but it will expose how well PSG can formulate from defensive zone into attacking zone, in this game they did not do well throughout. In the 27th minute, my point was made, PSG’s passing was not convincing.
They seemed to bludgeon their way in the attack too often. Diani is not a natural goal scorer, compared to Katoto or Huitema, but is a great foil for one. Thus, why her and Gauvin in les bleus are in each other’s way. By halftime, some called the 3-0 lead dominance but I disagree. PSG took advantage of an athletically weaker Braga, who couldn’t execute their superior passing game fast or strong enough to punish PSG.
But better opposition is in the later stages in this competition and PSG will be cut into if they have the same lack of sharpness in their passing or comprehension to each other. PSG started the second half wanting to control possession, and condensed higher up the pitch, released Diani who showed great class. Morroni I am not convinced can handle Cascarino , important in the Division 1 race in France ,in a battle after her 55th minute mental lapse; she is not fast enough and showed a lack of focus under no pressure with a large goal lead.
Nigeria’s Chinaza Uchendu came off for Farida Machia, a little bit upset, I do not know why Uchendu was upset. PSG have a superior team in support, meaning trainers or financing. PSG also have more athletic or more experienced players than Braga. Braga players have no need to look pissed based on this result. Absent Geyoro or Katoto PSG showed attacking power over a demoralized Braga. Diani came off circa 73rd minute and the big three of PSG Katoto/Diani/Geyoro were all off. Oddly enough, PSG possession wise seemed more capable but Braga’s forwards did not stop.
Though the Braga collective was not interested in opening up their back. Circa 75th minute, the miss from Nadia Nadim was woeful, yes it was her first touch but on a team like PSG, she must score that slotter. Huitema or Baltimore have to show either can score starting in a match. It is not the same thing to come off the bench against a Braga.