Angel Di Maria scored a double to help Paris Saint-Germain to a 3-0 win over Caen at the Stade Michel d’Ornano in Ligue 1 on Saturday, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic also on target.
The Parisian outfit were all over their opponents right from the start and Di Maria opened the scoring after just 16 minutes of play. Ibrahimovic made it two nine minutes before the break with a stylish volley, before Argentina international Di Maria scored his second and the visitors’ third five minutes into the second half.
Caen occasionally looked to threaten on the counterattack and even earned an opportunity to pull one back with a late spot-kick, but Andy Delort failed to find the net from 12 yards as PSG held on to their three-goal lead.
The titleholders sit top of Ligue 1 with 51 points from 19 games heading into the winter break following the victory on Saturday and are on a 28-game unbeaten run in the French top flight.
Caen, meanwhile, remain fourth with 30 points.
Lucas threatened early on for PSG when he beat the offside trap after a good long ball from Thiago Motta, but the Brazil international hesitated, allowing Syam Ben Youssef to rush back and make a last-ditch tackle.
The reigning champions went a goal up after 16 minutes of play. Ben Youssef failed to properly clear Serge Aurier’s cross from the right, deflecting the ball into the feet of Di Maria, who had no trouble finding the net from inside the area.
Laurent Blanc’s men came close to doubling their lead mid-way through the first half via Ibrahimovic, but the Swede hit the crossbar with his first attempt, before testing Remy Vercoutre with a spectacular bicycle kick from the rebound that the Caen goalkeeper kept out with a fine reflex stop.
The visitors continued to dominate proceedings in the remainder of the first half and there were chances for Motta, Thiago Silva and Lucas Moura, but Vercoutre initially proved to be too much of an obstacle for a second goal before the break.
There was nothing Vercoutre could do to deny Ibrahimovic in the 36th minute, though. Lucas laid the ball off for Ibrahimovic on the edge of the area and the 34-year-old blasted a stunning volley into the top corner to make it 2-0 with his 15th league goal of the season.
Di Maria effectively ended the match as a contest early in the second half with his second goal of the afternoon. Lucas headed a cross from the left back across the goal and Di Maria lifted the ball over Vercoutre – and into the net – with a subtle movement of his left foot.
Ibrahimovic got a chance to double his personal tally when the referee awarded PSG a free-kick on the edge of the box, but the Sweden star aimed too high.
Di Maria set up Lavezzi one-on-one with Vercoutre thanks to a dangerous throughball on 75 minutes, but the former Napoli man failed to guide the ball past the Caen shotstopper.
Lavezzi tested Vercoutre again in the 80th minute with a powerful shot toward the top corner, the Caen man once more proving equal to the task.
Delort should have pulled one back in the closing stages of the game after the referee awarded Caen a penalty, but Kevin Trapp did well to keep out the spot-kick.
Key Opta stats:
– Paris Saint-Germain have registered 51 points in their first 19 Ligue 1 games in 2015/16, their highest ever tally at this stage.
– PSG have scored 48 goals after 19 games in Ligue 1 this season, their best ever tally at this stage.
– PSG are the only team still unbeaten in the top five European leagues this season.
– PSG are unbeaten in their last 28 Ligue 1 games (W25, D3), their best run ever in the top-flight.
– Caen are winless in their last nine games against PSG in Ligue 1 (D2 L7), failing to keep a clean sheet.
– Caen won only once in their last five home Ligue 1 games (D1 L3).
– Angel Di Maria has been involved in six of PSG’s last nine goals in Ligue 1 (two goals, four assists).
– He has had a hand in 10 goals in his last seven Ligue 1 games (four goals, six assists).
– Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored five of PSG’s last 10 goals in Ligue 1.
– Kevin Trapp saved two penalties in Ligue 1 this season, highest tally alongside Mike Maignan.