France: Paris Saint-Germain claimed a 3-0 success over Nice at Parc des Princes to take another step closer to the Ligue 1 title.
Following their Coupe de France exit in midweek, Carlo Ancelotti had said he wanted a reaction from his side and goals from Jeremy Menez, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Clement Chantome ensured the capital side bounced back in an impressive manner.
A whirlwind start from the hosts was capped by Menez’s opening goal, which was the product of a fine breakaway. Although Marco Verratti won the ball and Zlatan Ibrahimovic was also involved, it was Javier Pastore’s ball juggling in the box that ultimately provided the former Roma man with a simple finish.
It took until midway through the second period for the hosts to add a second. Nice goalkeeper David Ospina will shoulder much of the blame as he failed to dribble out of an awkward situation and was provoked into a rash foul on Ezequiel Lavezzi, which brought both a penalty and a red card for the Colombian. From the penalty spot, Ibrahimovic thumped past Joris Delle.
With just a couple of minutes remaining, a lovely interchange between Blaise Matuidi and Ibrahimovic teed substitute Chantome up to score a third goal.
PSG really attempted to throw down the hammer after the red card and were unlucky not to score more goals.
Thiago Silva, in particular, was robbed of one of the goals of the season as he finished from an outrageously tight angle after rounding Delle. Indeed, position was so acute the Brazilian’s effort was chalked off as the assistant referee had deemed the ball to have been on the wrong side of the bye-line when he struck it was spin into the net.
Former France Under-21 international Delle was called upon to make a string of late stops. Maxwell had a fine strike turned over the top by Nice’s second-string goalkeeper, who also kicked away a fierce drive from Zlatan Ibrahimovic after the Swede got in behind the visiting rear-guard once again.
The match had not always been so one sided, though. Nice had actually enjoyed plenty of possession in the first half but they were unable to draw Salvatore Sirigu into anything more than a routine stop.
Ospina, meanwhile, prevented Ancelotti’s side from going 2-0 up before the break by making a stunning reaction save from Menez, yet that good work would be so embarrassingly undone in the second period.
PSG remain nine points clear of second-placed Olympique de Marseille and are at least three weeks away from claiming a first Ligue 1 title since 1995. Nice, meanwhile, remain in contention for third but were comprehensively outclassed on Sunday night.