Thu, Apr 20, 2017 - Page 16 News List

Matuidi scores two as PSG beat Metz, level with Monaco


Blaise Matuidi on Tuesday scored a 93rd-minute winner as Paris Saint-Germain recovered from throwing away a two-goal lead to beat Metz 3-2 and move level with Ligue 1 leaders AS Monaco.

Edinson Cavani netted his 30th league goal of the season and Matuidi quickly added a second at the Stade Saint-Symphorien as PSG sought to crank up the pressure on Monaco.

However, Yann Jouffre pulled a goal back with 12 minutes to play before fellow substitute Cheick Diabate prodded home an 88th-minute equalizer, with Jouffre then crashing another free-kick against the crossbar.

France midfielder Matuidi grabbed his second of the game deep into stoppage time to keep the defending champions right on the heels of Monaco, who have a game in hand on Unai Emery’s team.

The capital club are hunting a third successive sweep of the domestic trophies and should have gone ahead against Metz on 24 minutes when Lucas somehow failed to convert Maxwell’s low cross.

However, Cavani was far more clinical, as the fullback flighted another ball into the box, the Uruguayan burying a powerful header past a helpless Eiji Kawashima on 33 minutes.

Cavani became the first player in Europe’s top leagues to reach the 30-goal mark this term, although he remains eight goals behind Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s single-season club record with five games remaining.

Maxwell was also at the origin of PSG’s second just three minutes later, as the Brazilian released Matuidi in behind the defense and the Frenchman smashed beyond Kawashima at his near post.

With Metz hovering five points above the drop zone, coach Philippe Hinschberger rotated his side ahead of this weekend’s clash against third-from-bottom Lorient and the absence of Jouffre, Diabate and Ismaila Sarr was telling.

The trio were thrust into action inside the final half hour and immediately made an impact, as Jouffre curled a set piece won by Diabate past a stranded Kevin Trapp to give Metz a lifeline.

It looked as if PSG’s title hopes were in grave danger when the towering Diabate stretched out his right boot to stab Sarr’s right-wing cross just inside the far post.

However, after Jouffre rattled the bar in a frenetic finale, Matuidi rose unmarked to head in a Javier Pastore cross and keep PSG firmly in the running for a fifth successive league crown.

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