Sun, Feb 03, 2013 - Page 19 News List

PSG mark Beckham arrival with rout of 10-man Toulouse

AFP, PARIS

Paris Saint-Germain celebrated David Beckham’s arrival in the French capital with an emphatic 4-0 rout of 10-man Toulouse on Friday that provisionally pushed the title favorites three points clear at the top of Ligue 1.

Javier Pastore, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Mamadou Sakho and Gregory van der Wiel were all on target for PSG at the Stade Municipal in Toulouse as Carlo Ancelotti’s side capped a memorable 24 hours in style.

A seventh win in eight games for PSG moved them onto 48 points with second-place Lyon away to Ajaccio today and Marseille, who are on 42, at home to basement side Nancy.

With all the off the field headlines a day after Beckham penned a five-month deal with the Parisians, there was little sign of the former Manchester United and Real Madrid star’s transfer causing any disruption to PSG’s title pursuit.

However, he was still the talk of the night with PSG sporting director Leonardo revealing that the former England captain will start training on Feb. 13.

“He will come with us to Valencia for the Champions League game the day before, but will not play. The idea is that he will start training on Feb. 13,” said Leonardo, who also shrugged off doubts about employing a 37-year-old.

“He is going to be a huge surprise for you,” the Brazilian said.

Ancelotti, who worked with Beckham at AC Milan, said that the player needs to get fit and prove he deserves a place in the team.

“He needs to train and rediscover his physical condition,” the Italian said. “He could play as a defensive midfielder or on the right side. He will play if he deserves to.”

PSG quickly found their stride on the pitch as Pastore struck with the game’s first meaningful chance on four minutes, volleying in Ezequiel’s Lavezzi’s floated cross via a deflection off the unwitting Serge Aurier.

Ibrahimovic doubled PSG’s advantage nine minutes before halftime as he connected sweetly with a Lucas cross to plant a powerful header low into the far corner.

Toulouse’s task was made all the more challenging when Cheikh M’Bengue was dismissed for a second yellow card just before the break after scything down Lucas.

Goalkeeper Ali Ahamada kept the home side in the contest with a pair of excellent saves to deny Ibrahimovic, but was powerless to stop an unmarked Sakho netting his first of the campaign on 70 minutes as the central defender steered in a far-post delivery.

Substitute Van der Wiel then added a fourth goal for the visitors’ two minutes later.

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