Mon, Jan 25, 2016 - Page 18 News List

PSG thrash Angers, Ben Arfa lifts Nice to second


Paris Saint-Germain served another reminder of their Ligue 1 supremacy with a thumping 5-1 victory at home to Angers SCO on Saturday that moved the reigning champions 24 points clear at the top.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic opened the scoring at the Parc des Princes with his 17th league goal of the season, before Lucas doubled the lead for Laurent Blanc’s side just before halftime.

The floodgates then opened after the break, with Gregory van der Wiel rounding off a superb team move for PSG’s third, only for Pierrick Capelle to pull one back, but Angel di Maria then scored twice in the space of four minutes to complete the rout.

“It was a great second half, although the first was a bit trickier against well-organized opponents, which we noticed in the first meeting this season,” said Blanc, whose team won for the 19th time in 22 games. “The first goal was crucial. Once we led things became a bit easier.”

With Paris Saint-Germain still competing in four competitions, the capital club face a fixture backlog that sees them play seven games in three weeks ahead of their UEFA Champions League round-of-16 first leg against Chelsea on Feb. 16.

Blanc was without captain Thiago Silva, Marquinhos, Marco Verratti and Javier Pastore through injury, but still fielded an imposing lineup, although there was no place for Uruguayan striker Edinson Cavani, whose future remains unclear amid reports this week linking him to Manchester United.

Angers held PSG to a 0-0 draw when the sides met last month, the last time PSG dropped points this season and the only occasion in which they have failed to score in Ligue 1.

The visitors entered the weekend with the league’s second-meanest defense, but there was little Angers could do.

Also on Saturday, Hatem Ben Arfa netted his 10th goal of the season as OGC Nice beat Lorient 2-1 to climb to second place, while Stade Malherbe Caen won 2-1 at Montpellier Herault and En Avant de Guingamp secured a 1-0 victory over nine-man SC Bastia.

ESTAC Troyes finally registered their first win of the season after coming from behind to win 3-1 at Lille OSC, while Girondins de Bordeaux rallied late on to draw 2-2 at Nantes.

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