Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Saint-Etienne 0 Paris Saint-Germain 2: Ibrahimovic goals equal Ligue 1 record for champions

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 31 Jan 2016

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Paris Saint-Germain beat Saint-Etienne 2-0 to equal a 21-year-old Ligue 1 record for the longest unbeaten run in the competition and extend their massive lead at the top of the table.

Laurent Blanc’s side are now unbeaten 32 Ligue 1 matches, a run stretching back to last season, levelling the longstanding record set by Nantes between July 1994 and April 1995.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic put PSG in front after an hour, turning in a pinpoint cross from Serge Aurier, before capitalising on a lucky bounce to round off victory with the last meaningful touch of the game.

Kevin Trapp’s excellence had earlier kept PSG in the game, the goalkeeper saving from Kevin Monnet-Paquet, Franck Tabanou and Kevin Malcuit, while Moustapha Bayal Sall cleared a shot by Lucas off the line.

PSG’s lead at the top of Ligue 1 is now 24 points after Angers beat Monaco 3-0 on Saturday, with Blanc’s men having won 20 out of their 23 league matches this season.

Blanc made seven changes from PSG’s Coupe de la Ligue victory against Toulouse with Marquinhos, Maxwell and Ibrahimovic among those returning to the team, while on-loan striker Jean-Christophe Bahebeck started for Saint-Etienne against his parent club.

The hosts almost took a shock lead in the very first minute when a slack backpass by Thiago Motta let in Monnet-Paquet, but Trapp was rapidly off his line to deny him.

Captain Ibrahimovic shot over from 14 yards before Trapp clawed away a cross from Malcuit that was creeping into the top corner and then tipped over a looping shot from Tabanou.

Bahebeck went close with a powerful strike on 18 minutes after a flowing Saint-Etienne move and the forward should have scored with a header soon after, only to clear the crossbar with the effort.

PSG, the only team in Europe’s top five leagues who remain unbeaten this season, almost took the lead on 34 minutes but Lucas Moura saw his shot cleared off the line by Sall after Ibrahimovic’s clever backheel was saved by Stephane Ruffier.

Saint-Etienne had not beaten PSG at home since September 2008 but looked the most likely with Tabanou hammering a volley wide from Monnet-Paquet’s cross on 52 minutes.

Monnet-Paquet then tested Trapp with a shot on the turn on 59 minutes but the PSG goalkeeper was alert and that save proved vital as the visitors immediately took the lead.

Aurier’s powerful run found the right-back acres of space on the wing and his excellent cross only need a touch to beat Ruffier, which Ibrahimovic provided with aplomb to record his 10th goal in seven matches against Saint-Etienne.

Alexander Soderlund’s header bobbled wide on 73 minutes as Saint-Etienne sought an equaliser and Trapp saved Jeremy Clement’s low drive.

But, with virtually the last kick of the game, Ibrahmiovic tapped home Di Maria’s deflected effort after more good work from Aurier to add gloss to the scoreline and move PSG to the brink of making history.

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