Undefeated PSG grind out 2-0 win against Toulouse

AFP, PARIS

Mon, Sep 30, 2013 - Page 18

French champions Paris Saint-Germain maintained their unbeaten start to the season as they ground out a 2-0 victory over Toulouse on Saturday to provisionally move to the top of Ligue 1.

Teenage defender Marquinhos netted his first goal in the French top flight four minutes prior to halftime at the Parc des Princes before Edinson Cavani converted a late penalty to send PSG a point clear of Monaco, who travel to Reims on Sunday, at the summit.

“I’m getting more confident,” said Marquinhos, who only made his Ligue 1 debut last weekend after joining from Roma in the summer.

“I’ve scored twice in 10 days which I had never done before professionally,” added the Brazilian, having also netted in PSG’s Champions League opener at Olympiakos two weeks ago. “I’m very happy. I hope that it continues. In any case it allowed us to get the victory, which is what we had been looking for above all.”

With an eye on PSG’s midweek Champions League tie against Benfica, Laurent Blanc chose to rotate his squad as he made seven changes to the team that beat Valenciennes 1-0 on Wednesday.

Goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu was called into early action as he dived to his left to claw away a header from Toulouse midfielder Etienne Didot, who was fortunate not to concede a penalty on the half-hour after handling from a corner.

A dour first half then came to life just before the interval as Marquinhos put the home side in front, stabbing home from close range at the second attempt after Ali Ahamada had saved brilliantly from the Brazilian central defender.

Aymen Abdennour almost replied immediately for the visitors, but Marco Verratti was on hand to hack the Tunisian defender’s strike off the line.

Adrien Rabiot almost doubled PSG’s lead midway through the second half, but saw his header bounce back off the inside of the post. However, substitute Cavani put the game out of reach on 79 minutes after the hosts were awarded a penalty.

Cavani went down under a challenge from Uros Spajic with the referee pointing to the spot despite replays indicating the Serbian center-half had got a touch on the ball. Unfazed by Toulouse’s protests, the Uruguayan dusted himself down and calmly stroked home the spot-kick to take his season’s tally to four.

Marseille warmed up for their Champions League trip to Borussia Dortmund tomorrow by winning 2-0 at Lorient. After a first half of few chances in Brittany, l’OM got the breakthrough just before the hour mark when the excellent Mathieu Valbuena netted from a free-kick just over 20m out.

The French international had scored the only goal when l’OM won at the Stade du Moustoir last season and it looked as if his latest strike would secure an identical result this time.

However, as Lorient pressed forward in search of an equalizer, Marseille made certain of the points in stoppage time, Andre Ayew firing low past goalkeeper Fabien Audard at his near post for his first goal of the campaign.

Lyon and Lille finished goalless at the Stade Gerland while Dario Cvitanich struck the winning goal for Nice in a 1-0 victory at home to Guingamp. Bordeaux drew 1-1 away to Evian.

Francois-Joseph Modesto netted an equalizer deep into injury time to earn Bastia a 2-2 draw against Saint-Etienne as Sochaux moved off the bottom of the table after beating fellow strugglers Valenciennes 2-0 in their first game since Eric Hely’s resignation.