LIGUE 1: Classy Ibrahimovic leads PSG to 4-0 win against Troyes

AFP and Reuters, PARIS

Mon, Nov 26, 2012 - Page 19

A brace from in-form striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic propelled Paris Saint-Germain to a 4-0 win over promoted ES Troyes AC on Saturday as they provisionally returned to the top of Ligue 1.

Maxwell netted the opener for PSG, while two second-half strikes from Ibrahimovic and a goal from Blaise Matuidi sent Carlo Ancelotti’s side a point clear of AS Saint-Etienne and Olympique Lyonnais at the summit.

Ancelotti praised the impact of Ibrahimovic, who put the visitors to the sword on his return from a two-match suspension.

“Ibra is a very important player. Naturally, we are more effective up front when he’s there. He’s one of the best forwards in the world,” he said.

Meanwhile, an eighth defeat of the season for Troyes leaves Jean-Marc Furlan’s men languishing in 19th. Troyes goalkeeper Yohann Thuram endured a busy afternoon and was forced to display quick reflexes to turn over an early effort from Matuidi, while the usually lethal Ibrahimovic shot tamely at Thuram after he was played through by Marco Verratti.

The home side eventually drew first blood on 17 minutes as Ibrahimovic advanced down the byline before crossing for Maxwell to steer home.

Ezequiel Lavezzi then tested Thuram with a header, while Troyes’ Fabien Camus saw his deflected strike land on the roof of the net.

On-loan striker Jean-Christophe Bahebeck, playing against his parent club, drew a low save out of Sirigu and was unfortunate not to be awarded a penalty just before halftime after he was sent sprawling by Verratti.

The Italian clattered through the back of Bahebeck, but replays indicated that Verratti got a faint touch on the ball as the referee waved away appeals.

PSG capitalized on that let-off as Matuidi double the hosts’ advantage on 63 minutes with an adroit finish after Ibrahimovic had slipped the ball into the path of the French midfielder.

The Swede then got on the scoresheet himself, drilling a left-footed strike past Thuram via the underside of the crossbar seven minutes later before tapping home a Lavezzi cross a minute from the end to complete the rout.

Elsewhere, Stade Rennais slumped to a 1-0 home defeat against Evian Thonon Gaillard.

AS Nancy-Lorraine’s winless streak stretched to 14 games in all competitions after an Adrian Mutu penalty gave AC Ajaccio a 1-1 comeback draw.

Saint-Etienne beat Valenciennes 1-0, OGC Nice earned a 1-0 win at Sochaux-Montbeliard and SC Bastia downed Lorient 2-1.