Tue, Jan 21, 2014 - Page 19 News List

PSG thump Nantes to retain five-point lead over Monaco

AFP, PARIS

Paris Saint-Germain cruised to a 5-0 thrashing of Nantes on Sunday to maintain their five-point lead over AS Monaco at the top of Ligue 1.

Earlier in the day, the Principality club had kept the pressure on the champions with a routine 2-0 win at mid-table Toulouse.

Brazil centerback Thaigo Silva opened the scoring for PSG after just 10 minutes at the Parc des Princes, as he knocked home a loose ball after Nantes goalkeeper Remy Riou failed to hold onto Edinson Cavani’s header.

The capital club had all but put the game to bed by halftime when Zlatan Ibrahimovic doubled their advantage from the penalty spot.

However, it was not without controversy, as Chaker Alhadhur was deemed to have brought down Marco Verratti, despite television replays suggesting the Italian midfielder had slipped.

Six minutes after the restart it was all over, as Blaise Matuidi’s back post header found Thiago Motta, who scored from 5m out.

Nantes were their own worst enemies at times and Papy Mison Djilobodji was penalized for trying to dribble past Verratti, with the Italian tackling the defender and sending Ibrahimovic away to cross for Cavani to notch the fourth goal.

Ibrahimovic added the fifth after Javier Pastore’s attempt was blocked.

Goals from Layvin Kurzawa and Lucas Ocampos gave Monaco an eight-point advantage over fourth-placed AS Saint-Etienne, further cementing Claudio Ranieri’s team’s quest to earn a Champions League berth next season.

Ranieri made a change to his starting line-up, bringing in French Under-20 world champion Geoffroy Kondogbia to replace struggling Portugal international Moutinho, although the youngster did little to further his long-term prospects of holding down a regular starting position.

Monaco were far from convincing, particularly in the first half, but turned around at the break when Kondogbia — in a rare moment of quality — provided a low cross from the left for Kurzawa to score on 36 minutes.

Until then, Toulouse had been by far the better team, although impotent in front of the goal.

There was a disappointing performance from Colombian record-signing Radamel Falcao, who missed two glorious chances and has not scored in the league since Nov. 8 last year.

He was replaced by Ocampos with 21 minutes left and it was the Argentine who sealed the win with a bicycle-kick two minutes from the end with a strike of rare beauty that looked out of place in an otherwise drab affair.

Meanwhile, Olympique Lyonnais won for the fourth time in a row in all competitions to move to eighth, one place below Stade de Reims, whom they beat 2-0.

Alexandre Lacazette and Gueida Fofana secured the points as Lyon took their unbeaten run in all competitions to 10.

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