Paris Saint-Germain have moved within two points of Ligue 1 leaders Lyon after routing Valenciennes 4-0.
In a devastating display at Stade du Hainaut on Tuesday, the visiting Parisians blitzed Valenciennes with 20 shots to 10, as Zlatan Ibrahimovic stole the headlines courtesy of a maiden Ligue 1 hat-trick before Ezequiel Lavezzi wrapped up proceedings with a late goal.
After an early flurry from the home team, PSG began to assert themselves on the game after 20 minutes before Ibrahimovic gave them the lead just prior to the half-hour mark.
Javier Pastore and Jeremy Menez linked well down the right flank and when Menez’s cross was only clawed out to the edge of the area by Valenciennes goalkeeper Nicolas Penneteau, Lavezzi’s low drive was diverted into the net by Ibrahimovic from close range.
Ibrahimovic’s second goal came just four minutes after half-time when Pastore’s volley was palmed straight into the path of the Swede, who made no mistake from close range.
In the 53rd minute, Ibrahimovic had three after Menez broke into space behind the home defence and drove towards goal, before squaring the ball to his lead striker who tapped it home.
Lavezzi scored PSG’s fourth goal in the 82nd minute, running onto Marco Verrati’s through ball to slot past Penneteau.
The capital club have moved to into second in Ligue 1’s standings with 32 points, ahead of Marseille, while Lyon lead with 34.
Both Lyon and Marseille have played one less game than PSG, which they will make up on Wednesday.
Lille moved ahead of Toulouse and into the top half of the table with their 2-0 win over the southern club.
After a goalless first half, Marko Basa put Lille in front 10 minutes after the break before Dimitri Payet completed the home side’s victory with a brilliant curling shot in the 83rd minute.
Lille have moved to ninth with 25 points, while Toulouse have slipped to 11th with 23.
In Tuesday’s other game, Nice overcame Rennes 1-0 thanks to plenty of help from the referee.
Rennes had Jean-Armel Kana-Biyik and Yassine Jebbour sent off in the second half with the latter adjudged to have brought down Nice substitute Eric Bautheac in the box in the 65th minute.
Dario Cvitanich slotted the penalty for the home team as Nice won their sixth game of the season.