Paris Saint-Germain recovered from their Champions League humiliation at the hands of Barcelona to beat Ligue 1’s bottom club Lorient 2-1 on Sunday.
The French champions were not at their best at Stade du Moustoir with memories of their 6-1 drubbing at Camp Nou fresh in the memory, but a first-half own goal by Benjamin Jeannot and Christopher Nkunku’s first Ligue 1 strike ensured a return to winning ways.
Head coach Unai Emery was given the backing of PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi in the aftermath of his side’s European exit, and anything other than victory over Lorient – who have now lost five consecutive league games – would have been disastrous.
Emery’s opposite number Bernard Casoni sent out a well-drilled side, who created a number of chances to score, and Michael Ciani’s second-half headed goal was well deserved.
The defeat does nothing to help Lorient, six points adrift of safety at the foot of the table, while the narrow margin of victory kept will not have pleased Emery, whose side must improve before Lyon arrive at Parc Des Princes next weekend, having taken second place in the table back from Nice.
Edinson Cavani flashed a free-kick over the crossbar in the third minute but Lorient had early chances of their own, with Alhassan Wakaso bending a shot just wide of Kevin Trapp’s goal after Marquinhos gave the ball away.
The home side sought to take advantage of any residual nerves PSG’s defenders might have been feeling after their Champions League humiliation and Ciani fired wide from the edge of the box while the visitors struggled to get into their stride.
Thiago Silva aimed a header towards goal after Javier Pastore’s cross picked him out but Lorient goalkeeper Benjamin Lecomte made a good one-handed save to keep the scores level.
The champions began to find their flow and Julian Draxler’s backheel played in Cavani, whose shot was well saved by Lecomte. Angel Di Maria took the ensuing corner and the slightest touch from Jeannot was enough to take it past the goalkeeper and Arnold Mvuemba on the line, and into the net.
Lorient continued to frustrate PSG after the break, playing some neat passing football in midfield, but they were undone again just seven minutes into the second half.
Cavani squared the ball to Nkunku and the teenager hit a 20-yard shot that swerved past Lecomte, who seemed to be deceived by the ball’s flight.
— PSG English (@PSG_English) March 12, 2017
The home side deserved a goal for their efforts and it arrived when Sylvain Marveaux’s corner was met by a downwards Ciani header that bounced up into the net to make it 2-1 after 68 minutes and set up a tense final quarter of the game.
Cavani should have put the result beyond doubt when Di Maria let Layvin Kurzawa’s cross run to him in the box, but the chance went begging and PSG’s travelling supporters had to settle for an uncomfortably narrow victory.
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