Paris Saint-Germain’s preparations for their long-awaited return to the Champions League received a boost on Friday evening when they saw off the challenge of Toulouse 2-0 at Parc des Princes, recording their second successive Ligue 1 victory.
A deft first-half finish from Javier Pastore gave the capital side the advantage, but this was a very competitive encounter and was never truly settled until Zlatan Ibrahimovic converted a second for Carlo Ancelotti’s men with 20 minutes remaining.
The Swede was at the forefront of his side’s best moves throughout this encounter, with a powerful surge after only seven minutes, but after breaking past one defender he saw Ali Ahamada get down well to block his shot.
Toulouse came roaring back and dominated the midfield for a spell, culminating in a long-range shot from France futsal international Wissam Ben Yedder that required an athletic save from Salvatore Sirigu to prevent it flying into the top corner of his net.
By the interval, the hosts had regained the upper hand, and they would be rewarded with a goal. Marco Verratti received a loose ball in the middle of the field and showed terrific vision to send a measured pass over the Toulouse defence for Pastore to race onto and loft a neat first-time finish over the stranded goalkeeper.
Ibrahimovic was the first to threaten after the break. Given too much room a long way out, the former AC Milan man delivered a fizzing shot towards goal that lacked the accuracy to really worry the goalkeeper, while Jeremy Menez was denied similarly from a difficult angle just inside the box.
Ben Yedder continued to pose PSG some problems and would again be denied by Sirigu, but the hosts ultimately managed to wrestle themselves free of Les Violets midway through the second period.
Menez’s dynamism down the left channel would prove decisive, as he comprehensively beat the offside trap and unselfishly centred for Ibrahimovic to tap in from inches out when he could have legitimately shot for goal himself.
Late on the hosts nearly added a third, but Alex`s header was cleared from the line by Etienne Capoue.
Ancelotti had already responded to the second goal by replacing Pastore, hinting that he was happy with his side’s advantage and that no more energy must be spent before Tuesday’s return to the big time, when Les Parisiens host Dynamo Kiev in the Champions League.
In the short-term, though, PSG have reduced the deficit to Ligue 1 leaders Olympique de Marseille to three points ahead of the weekend’s games, seeing off awkward opponents to do so.