Edinson Cavani scored two more goals and Javier Pastore was also on target as Paris Saint-Germain extended their lead at the top of the Ligue 1 Conforama table by beating FC Nantes 4-1 on Saturday.
Paris Saint-Germain 4 – 1 FC Nantes
Nantes travelled to the Parc des Princes in fine form, having suffered just one defeat in 10 games. Claudio Ranieri’s side have built their success this season around a formidable defence and they ‘knew their only chance of coming away from the capital with anything was by frustrating their hosts. They succeeded in that regard for most of the first half, with Nicolas Pallois and Diego Carlos superbly marshalling the back line.
But their resistance was broken seven minutes before the interval. Back after missing the 5-0 win at Angers SCO, Neymar Jr fed Pastore and he picked out Cavani, who took a touch before firing past Ciprian Tătăruşanu. The home side then doubled their lead just three minutes later with a soft goal – Ángel Di María played a corner from the right short to Dani Alves and got the ball back again, before delivering a cross that evaded everyone and caught out Tătăruşanu as it found the far corner (41’).
Super sub Nakoulma
The visitors now had a mountain to climb but they were given hope as they reduced the deficit on the hour mark. Jules Iloki’s cross from the right was returned into the six-yard box by Léo Dubois at the far post and Préjuce Nakoulma – who had just come on – converted with his first touch.
Nevertheless, PSG restored their two-goal advantage when Marco Verratti fed Pastore, whose powerful first-time shot found the net despite Tătăruşanu getting two hands on the ball (65′). Cavani completed the rout in slightly farcical fashion when he rolled into an empty net after a Diego Carlos clearance had ricocheted off Pallois into his path (79′).
The home side could have won by more, with Cavani almost getting his hat-trick and only a last-ditch Chidozie Awaziem clearance denying Neymar a goal at the death. But this is PSG’s 12th win by a margin of at least three goals in all competitions this season, and they move six points clear of AS Monaco at the summit after the reigning champions could only draw at Amiens SC on Friday. And next up for PSG is a trip to the principality.
THE PLAYER: Edinson Cavani
The Uruguayan is utterly relentless. It was his fine finish that broke the deadlock at a crucial moment and he went on to grab a brace for the third consecutive Ligue 1 Conforama match. Cavani has 15 league goals this season and 103 Ligue 1 goals altogether. He is also now on 149 goals in total for the club as he closes in on Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s record of 156.
THE STAT: 15
Cavani’s tally is the most prolific after just 13 games of a league campaign since Salif Keïta, who had the same tally with AS Saint-Etienne in 1971-72.