PSG beats AS Roma on penalties before 36,000-plus

Larry O'Connor
The Detroit News

Detroit — AS Roma and Paris Saint-Germain needed penalty kicks to settle their International Champions Cup match Wednesday, but the city’s Major League Soccer aspirations perhaps came away the biggest winner.

PSG prevailed over AS Roma in the International Champions Cup kickoff after Roma’s Gerson missed a spot kick. The clubs finished at 1-all before 36,289 spectators at Comerica Park.

AS Roma’s Umar Sadiq and PSG's Marquinhos scored in regulation.

The attendance for a mid-week international friendly was deemed a success by event organizer, Charlie Stillitano, chairman and founder of Relevent Sports.

NBA owners Dan Gilbert and Tom Gores are bidding to bring an MLS team to Detroit.

“I think it bodes well for an MLS team; I think it's a great market,” Stillitano said. “It's mid-week and 36,000 turn out.

“Michigan is a great, great soccer state and Detroit is a great soccer city. It really is. There has been a renaissance in Detroit, but soccer has been right with that. I used to remember the old Detroit Express. It was fun times, but now it is so deep and so ingrained.

“It's no longer foreign support. I think that is one of the reasons why it is so successful here in Detroit whenever we do a game.”

The crowd of 36,289 nearly filled the baseball park. Some seats were not sold due to the configuration of the soccer field at the 41,299-capacity baseball stadium.

The match itself was entertaining.

AS Roma’s Sadiq leveled things, left-footing a shot along the ground that beat PSG goalkeeper Areola between the legs. Sadiq came on as a second-half sub as both clubs made wholesale changes in the ICC opener.

Areola redeemed himself five minutes later, tipping a goal-bound Danielle Di Rossi free kick over the bar.

Marquinhos worked his way out of traffic, to the right of the penalty spot, where he drilled the ball past AS Roma goalkeeper Alisson to put PSG ahead 1-0. The strike was particularly sweet for the Brazilian since it came against the Rome squad for which he played 26 Serie A matches in 2012-13 before being sold to PSG for n31.4 million euros the following season.

Spanish forward Jese assisted.

PSG dominated possession in the first half, outshooting AS Roma 7-1. The Parisians also had a 5-1 edge in corner kicks. Jese nearly converted a corner kick for a goal in the sixth minute but his right-footed volley went wide right.

Both clubs missed clear-cut chances within a minute of each other in the second half. Sadiq skied his shot while PSG’s Blaise Matuidi did the same after breaking in alone on the AS Roma goal in the 75th minute.

Matuidi scuffed another shot over the bar after being set up 10 yards in front of the net on a pass from Odsonne Edouard with five minutes left.

PSG's Goncalo Guedes also sent a shot over the bar in the final minute.

PSG’s Adrian Rabiot received a yellow card in the 18th minute. AS Roma’s Moustapha Seck was cautioned after bringing down Lucas Moura in the 88th.

The second yellow was a result of the Brazilian’s dominance in the midfield, which gave AS Roma fits.

“In general, I thought the team did good work and that was important for all the players in particular as we get ready for Monaco in two weeks (start of Ligue 1 season) than any particular players you mention," PSG manager Unai Emery said through an interpreter.

AS Roma rebounded from a lackluster first 45 minutes, which pleased AS Roma manager Eusebio Di Francesco.

"We played with will," he said "The team was always sure on the pitch even when we went through some difficult times. We made some mistakes but in the second half we created many chances besides a clear penalty that was not rewarded and through the final stages we (withstood) Paris Saint-Germain, but we know it was an even game and we are happy with our performance."