Paris Saint-Germain were not at their best in their first Ligue 1 game of the year, but they still managed to extend their lead at the top of the table to five points after coming from behind to beat AC Ajaccio 2-1 on Saturday.
Bottom club Ajaccio had taken the lead at the Stade Francois Coty through an early Eduardo goal, but Ezequiel Lavezzi pulled the visitors level before the break and Blaise Matuidi headed in what proved to be the winner after 74 minutes.
It was not a classic performance from Laurent Blanc’s side, but they are now five points clear at the top of the table from AS Monaco, who were held to a 1-1 draw at Montpellier Hearult on Friday.
“We knew this would be a difficult match. We needed to be on top of our game in the opening 20 minutes, but we were not, and we switched off and conceded a goal,” Blanc said.
Ajaccio remain at the foot of the table with just one win to their name all season. They have a meager nine points and are nine points from safety, meaning that avoiding relegation looks beyond them.
“Paris were there for the taking tonight. It’s especially frustrating as we were not rewarded for our efforts,” Ajaccio coach Christian Bracconi said.
The Corsicans had developed a reputation as something of a bete noire for PSG recently — drawing each of their previous three meetings — and took a shock lead after just six minutes when Mehdi Mostefa’s ball from the right was helped on by Benjamin Andre and Eduardo converted.
They could have increased their lead soon after when Paul Lasne knocked the ball down for captain Johan Cavalli to volley just wide.
However, PSG slowly found their feet and Zlatan Ibrahimovic fired a low free-kick off the base of the post, before Edinson Cavani turned and shot narrowly off target.
The equalizer arrived four minutes before the break, Lavezzi slotting home his third league goal of the campaign from an Ibrahimovic assist at the end of a fine move involving Cavani and Matuidi.
Ajaccio remained very much in the game, but PSG finally got their noses in front with just more than 15 minutes remaining when Javier Pastore crossed for Ibrahimovic and the Swede nodded the ball down for Matuidi to score.
LOSC Lille Metropole can close the gap at the top back down to four points if they beat Stade de Reims at home yesterday.
Elsewhere on Saturday, fourth-placed AS Saint-Etienne followed a run of five wins from six games with a flat goalless draw at En Avant de Guingamp, while Girondins de Bordeaux’s unbeaten run ended in a 1-0 home loss to local rivals Toulouse.
Olympique Lyonnais continued their improved form with a 2-0 home win against struggling Sochaux-Montbeliard, as Clement Grenier and Yoann Gourcuff both scored second-half goals.
In the day’s other games, Stade Rennais and OGC Nice drew 0-0, while Valenciennes moved to within a point of safety with a 3-2 home win against SC Bastia that saw Mathieu Dossevi score twice and Ghanaian forward Waris Majeed find the net on his debut as Djibril Cisse failed to impress on his Bastia bow.