Sunday, July 22, 2018

Ligue 1: Paris Saint-Germain 3 Reims 0

SoccerNews in Ligue 1 5 Apr 2014


Paris Saint-Germain are two wins away from defending their Ligue 1 title after beating Reims 3-0 at the Parc des Princes on Saturday.

Victory over Hubert Fournier’s side takes the capital club 16 points clear of Monaco, who host Nantes on Sunday, though defeat for Claudio Ranieri’s side will give PSG the chance to wrap up their second successive title next week at Lyon.

Coach Laurent Blanc was shorn of injured top scorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic, but he will have been buoyed to see Edinson Cavani move to his favoured position down the middle with ease and score the game’s opener.

The Uruguayan’s replacement on the right wing, Lucas Moura, had a big hand in adding a second just after the break, with Aissa Mandi putting through his own goal.

Things got even worse for the unfortunate Mandi late on when he scored past his own goalkeeper again to complete a miserable afternoon, and another routine win for PSG.

PSG used the opportunity to rest several key players ahead of Tuesday’s UEFA Champions League quarter-final second leg at Chelsea.

Though 3-1 up from the first leg, the likes of Thiago Motta, Ezequiel Lavezzi and Blaise Matuidi were all benched ahead of the trip to west London.

Below-par in the week, Cavani was razor-sharp throughout the first half and went close 14 minutes in after racing onto Adrien Rabiot’s pass, but Mickael Tacalfred recovered well to deny him.

Reims’ attacks were few and far between but Odair Fortes almost caught Salvatore Sirigu out with a long-distance effort.

Visiting goalkeeper Kossi Agassa was perhaps fortunate not to concede a penalty with 10 minutes of the half to go after felling the impressive Lucas, but referee Laurent Duhamel was unmoved.

And PSG’s dominance was finally rewarded in the 43rd minute as Cavani slotted home after good work on the right from Gregory van der Wiel.

The first half had seen Blanc’s side frustrated, but they were quick to strike again after the break.

PSG’s left-back Lucas Digne fashioned an opening down the left before the teenager’s cross was headed towards goal by Lucas and deflected in by the hapless Mandi.

Cavani had a gilt-edged chance to double his tally 10 minutes into the second period, but he drilled his effort wide, with Jeremy Menez also shooting off-target soon afterwards.

Mandi then passed up a chance to redeem his earlier slip, heading Floyd Ayite’s free-kick over the crossbar as PSG sat back in hopes of preserving their lead.

Lavezzi emerged from the bench to replace Cavani with 25 minutes to go and saw a penalty appeal waved away after going down under a challenge from Tacalfred.

And with Chelsea on the horizon, PSG easily kept up their winning habit as Mandi inexplicably turned past Agassa for a second time with two minutes to go, securing the hosts an 11th-consecutive victory in all competitions ahead of the trip to London.


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