Ibrahimovic shines in comfortable PSG win

Ibrahimovic shines in comfortable PSG win
A brace from in-form striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic propelled Paris Saint-Germain to a 4-0 win over promoted Troyes on Saturday as they provisionally returned to the top of Ligue 1.

Maxwell netted a first-half opener for PSG, while two second-half strikes from Ibrahimovic and a goal from Blaise Matuidi snapped their domestic two-match losing streak in the French capital, sending Carlo Ancelotti’s side one point clear of Saint-Etienne and Lyon at the summit.

“We played an intelligent match. We didn’t want to inject too much pace. We travelled Wednesday, it was hard to recover. We used a counter-attacking strategy and we did it very well,” said Ancelotti, referring to PSG’s 2-0 victory at Dynamo Kiev that secured the club’s progression to the Champions League knockout phase.

The Italian also praised the impact of Ibrahimovic, who put the visitors to the sword on his return from a two-match suspension.

“Ibra is a very important player. Naturally, we are more effective up front when he’s there. He’s one of the best forwards in the world.”

Lyon, who have 25 points, could surpass the Parisians when they travel to Toulouse on Sunday, when Bordeaux (24 points) and Marseille (23) will also be

in action.

Meanwhile, an eighth defeat of the season for Troyes leaves Jean-Marc Furlan’s men languishing in 19th.

Troyes goalkeeper Yohann Thuram endured a busy afternoon and was forced to display quick reflexes to turn over an early effort from Matuidi, while the usually lethal Ibrahimovic shot tamely at Thuram after he was played through by Marco Verratti.

The home side eventually drew first blood on 17 minutes as Ibrahimovic advanced down the byline after escaping Rincon before crossing low for Maxwell to steer home.

Ezequiel Lavezzi then tested Thuram with a header, while Troyes’ Fabien Camus saw his deflected strike land on the roof of the net.

On-loan striker Jean-Christophe Bahebeck, playing against his parent club, drew a low save out of Sirigu and was unfortunate not to be awarded a penalty just before half-time after he was sent sprawling by Verratti.

The Italian midfielder — already on a yellow card — clattered through the back of Bahebeck, but replays indicated that Verratti got a faint touch on the ball as referee Bartolomeu Varela waved away appeals.

PSG capitalised on that let-off as Matuidi double the hosts’ advantage on 63 minutes with an adroit finish after Ibrahimovic had slipped the ball into the path of the French midfielder.

The talismanic Swede then got on the scoresheet himself, drilling a fierce left-footed strike past Thuram via the underside of the crossbar seven minutes later before tapping home a Lavezzi cross for his league-leading 12th goal of the campaign a minute from the end to complete the rout.

Elsewhere, Rennes saw their three-game winning streak come to a halt as Zouhaier Dhaouadi’s 80th-minute strike earned Evian a 1-0 win in Brittany to move the visitors out of the relegation zone.

Bastia overcame the early dismissal of Anthony Modeste to beat Lorient 2-1 as they recorded their first win in four attempts.

Modeste gave the home side an 11th-minute lead only to be shown a straight red less than 60 seconds later for a rash tackle on Kevin Monnet-Paquet.

Lamine Kone equalised for Lorient on 31 minutes, but Wahbi Khazri’s low strike four minutes later secured the points for Bastia.

Dario Cvitanich’s first-half penalty — the Argentine’s sixth league goal of the season — guided Nice to a 1-0 victory at Sochaux, while an Adrian Mutu spot-kick rescued a point for Ajaccio at bottom side Nancy, who took the lead through Djamel Bakar.

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