Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored the only goal of the game to help Paris Saint-Germain to a hard-fought win at Toulouse on Saturday.
The Sweden international was denied by a goal-line clearance from Issa Diop early on, but claimed his 16th goal of the season in the second half to extend PSG’s unbeaten run in Ligue 1 to 30 games.
Toulouse caused the reigning champions plenty of problems in the opening 45 minutes and were unfortunate not to go a goal up when Wissam Ben Yedder hit the crossbar.
Laurent Blanc’s men stepped it up a notch after the break and Lucas Moura should have opened the scoring after a fine team-move, only to aim inches wide.
Ibrahimovic would eventually come to the rescue, though, heading home from close range after some good work from David Luiz.
It was not all good news for Blanc, however, as both Javier Pastore and Marquinhos were forced off through injury.
The first chance of the match fell to PSG after nine minutes following good work from Benjamin Stambouli down the right. The midfielder did well to pick out Ibrahimovic with a fine cross, but the Swede saw his left-footed volley smuggled clear by Diop, having already beaten goalkeeper Alban Lafont.
Toulouse were happy to sit back and defend deep, aiming to hurt the reigning champions on the counter-attack and that tactic nearly paid off in the 13th minute. William Matheus sent in a dangerous cross from the left after Ibrahimovic had lost possession, but Ben Yedder headed just wide from a narrow angle.
Ibrahimovic tried his luck with an ambitious free-kick from 25 yards on the half-hour mark, but it sailed over the crossbar.
PSG goalkeeper Kevin Trapp was called into action shortly after following another quick break from the home side, but Ben Yedder’s header after Matheus’ cross lacked the power to worry the former Germany Under-21 international.
Ben Yedder continued to cause the PSG defence all kinds of trouble and he came close to breaking the deadlock in the 35th minute, dancing past David Luiz before beating Trapp with a powerful shot, which cannoned back off the woodwork.
Ibrahimovic threatened twice in the early stages of the second half, but the prolific striker first blasted a shot wide, before heading harmlessly over the bar after a cross from Serge Aurier.
Lucas should have opened the scoring in the 63th minute after a superb team move. Thiago Motta played in Edinson Cavani, who backheeled the ball towards Ibrahimovic, who in turn squared it wide for Lucas, but the Brazilian placed his shot just wide from inside the area.
PSG finally broke the deadlock in the 73rd minute through Ibrahimovic. David Luiz beat his marker to the ball after a corner from Lucas and his header reached the unmarked Ibrahimovic, with the Swede heading home from close range to decide the match.
The former Barcelona striker nearly netted a second in the closing stages with a powerful free-kick from 30 yards out, but Lafont did well to punch the ball wide for a corner.
Key Opta stats:
– PSG are unbeaten in their last 16 away games in the top-flight (W14 D2), keeping 10 clean sheets in this run.
– PSG have registered 57 points in their first 21 Ligue 1 games in 2015/16, their highest ever tally at this stage.
– PSG are the only team still unbeaten in the top 5 European leagues this season.
– Toulouse have kept only two clean sheets in Ligue 1 this season, fewer than any other team.
– Zlatan Ibrahimovic has had a hand in 22 goals in Ligue 1 this season (16 goals, 6 assists), more than any other player.
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