Zlatan Ibrahimovic penalty enough for PSG win
Paris Saint-Germain kept the pressure on Marseille at the top of Ligue 1 with a 1-0 win against Nice at the Parc des Princes on Saturday thanks to an early Zlatan Ibrahimovic penalty.
Paris: Paris Saint-Germain kept the pressure on Marseille at the top of Ligue 1 with a 1-0 win against Nice at the Parc des Princes on Saturday thanks to an early Zlatan Ibrahimovic penalty.
The Swede`s second goal in as many games and sixth in Ligue 1 this season may have been the only goal of the match, but the defending champions could, and should, have won by a greater margin against limited mid-table opponents.
Nevertheless, Laurent Blanc`s side remain unbeaten this season and have now recorded nine consecutive victories in all competitions, with this latest triumph allowing them to close the gap on Marseille back to one point following OM`s 2-0 defeat of Nanteas on Friday night.
PSG welcomed back captain Thiago Silva and Thiago Motta after both had missed the midweek Champions League game against Ajax, and while Nice might have opened the scoring inside seven minutes when Alassane Plea tested Salvatore Sirigu with a low shot, the home side came flying out of the blocks.
Edinson Cavani, who had scored seven goals in his last seven club appearances, sent a dipping volley from outside the area narrowly wide before Ibrahimovic showed sublime skill to take down a long Javer Pastore ball, turn and lash a shot against the post.
The breakthrough duly arrived on the quarter-hour when a penalty was awarded after Lucas was cleaned out in the box by two Nice defenders, Jordan Amavi and Romain Genevois.
And Ibrahimovic, who scored a hat-trick in this fixture last season, stepped up to score from the spot despite goalkeeper Mouez Hassen diving the right way.
Cavani then forced a good save out of Hassen after exchanging passes with Ibrahimovic but, perhaps with one eye on next Wednesday`s trip to Lille, Paris were unable to keep up their excellent start to the game.
Indeed, Nice maintained hope of snatching something from the encounter and Plea should have done better with a header from Amavi`s cross before the latter himself glanced a header wide from a free-kick 12 minutes from time.
However, PSG held out and have now been beaten just once in their last 38 home league games, while Nice made it five games without a win since a freak 7-2 victory away to Guingamp last month.
Marseille continue to set the pace after Florian Thauvin scored one goal and set up another on Friday to end Nantes` sequence of nine matches without defeat that had seen the resurgent Canaries climb into the top four.
Thauvin deftly converted a Dimitri Payet cross and then saw his free-kick headed in by Rod Fanni before half-time for Marcelo Bielsa`s side.
Later on Saturday, Monaco, following their impressive Champions League win at Bayer Leverkusen, are in action at in-form Rennes, while the game of the weekend is on Sunday, when third-placed Lyon make the short journey to face derby rivals Saint-Etienne, who are sixth.