PARIS, Nov 19 — Edinson Cavani fired two goals past Claudio Ranieri’s Nantes as Paris Saint-Germain went six points clear in Ligue 1 yesterday with an eye-catching 4-1 win.
With the Champions League visit of Celtic looming in midweek, PSG rested Kylian Mbappe but his replacement Javier Pastore scored one and made one, while Angel Di Maria fired home the other goal after a corner he had taken himself.
The win extended PSG’s lead over defending champions Monaco and the sides meet in a top-of-the-table showdown on the south coast next weekend.
“We aren’t thinking about Monaco, just about winning,” Cavani said.
The star of the show at the Parc des Princes may have been Pastore, but Cavani’s brace lifted his goal tally to 15 league goals from 13 games, and 68 goals from 67 matches in all competitions since Zlatan Ibrahimovic left for Manchester United.
“Very pleasing for a striker, but there’s a long way to go and I want to carry on and get bigger and better match after match,” the Uruguayan striker said.
Cavani timed his run onto Pastore’s through ball perfectly before lashing a fierce shot low past goalkeeper Ciprian Tatarusanu on 38 minutes for the opener.
“I gave him the ball and he scored the goal, that’s the kind of player he is,” Pastore said.
Di Maria took a short corner which Marco Verratti returned to him, before his searching left-foot cross-shot crept in to make it two.
Ranieri, the mastermind of Leicester City’s Premier League title two seasons ago, brought on Prejuce Nakoulma and he pegged PSG back within three minutes.
But midway through the second half Pastore, fed by Verratti, lobbed the giant Romanian keeper, who got a hand to the ball only to see it drop over the line.
Cavani’s second strike was a tap-in late on after defenders watched in horror as the loose ball fell to the wrong man.
“We were unlucky to lose 4-1, we played a good match. They are a huge team and you have to congratulate them,” Ranieri said.
Strasbourg beat Rennes 2-1 to send Lille into the relegation play-off places, despite Marcelo Bielsa’s side’s much-needed 3-1 victory over Saint-Etienne on Friday.
Dijon pulled clear of danger by seeing off Troyes 3-1 Saturday, but Angers were held to their eighth draw in just 13 league games this season at Guingamp to slip closer to the drop zone, just two points clear of second-bottom Amiens.
Newly-promoted Amiens put a dent in Monaco’s hopes of defending their title on Friday, as they held Leonardo Jardim’s principality outfit to a 1-1 draw.
Monaco striker Stevan Jovetic came off the bench to slot in a second-half equaliser after Serge Gakpe’s opener.
Third-placed Lyon host Montpellier today, as Marseille visit Bordeaux and struggling Nice try to revive their season at Caen. — AFP