Kevin Gameiro made the most of his first Ligue 1 start of the season to earn Paris Saint-Germain a 2-0 win over Sochaux-Montbeliard that lifted them up to provisional second on Saturday.
Gameiro, who had only played 71 minutes in the league this season, scored a first-half brace as PSG confirmed they had reached cruising speed after a stuttering start.
Carlo Ancelotti’s side are on 15 points and trail archrivals Olympique de Marseille, who they travel to next weekend, by three points before the leaders attempted to maintain their perfect start away to Valenciennes yesterday.
“We were not that good in the second half, we started to get a little bit tired, it’s normal,” goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu told Canal Plus. “The good thing today is the result. There is still room for improvement, but we keep cool.”
Gameiro had not scored in more than six months.
“There are moments like that in a career,” he told reporters. “Whether I start a game on the field or on the bench, I try to seize opportunities.”
PSG, who have spent more than 200 million euros (US$257 million) on transfers since being bought by Qatari investors last year, were a class apart, dominating possession with a steely midfield marshaled by the impressive Marco Verratti.
Javier Pastore’s delicately chipped pass into the path of Gameiro allowed the latter to make it 1-0 with a low shot after 11 minutes. Gameiro doubled the lead 12 minutes before the interval when he latched on to a Maxwell cross from the left.
PSG looked slightly weary after the break, but Brazilian centerbacks Thiago Silva and Alex made sure Sirigu would be unchallenged until the final whistle.
Gameiro’s brace made up for Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s failure to score for the first time in seven PSG appearances.
PSG, who have scored 10 goals in their past three games, face a couple of important challenges next week as they travel to Porto in the UEFA Champions League, before the “classic” with Marseille.
Elsewhere, Morocco midfielder Younes Belhanda fired home from a Karim Ait Fana pass midway through the second half and Souleymane Camara struck late to give champions Montpellier Herault a 2-0 win at AS Nancy-Lorraine.
Montpellier’s second victory of the season put them on eight points, 10 adrift of Marseille.
Lorient stayed fourth on 13 points after Gilles Sunu’s late goal salvaged a 1-1 draw at Evian Thonon Gaillard.
Toulouse were fifth, one point behind, thanks to their 2-0 win at promoted ES Troyes AC.
AC Ajaccio defeated Stade Brestois 29 1-0, while OGC Nice were held 2-2 at home by SC Bastia.