Five-star PSG punish Lyon to extend enormous lead
Zlatan Ibrahimovic took his tally to 14 goals in his last 11 Ligue 1 games as Paris Saint-Germain outclassed Lyon 5-1 on a gloomy Sunday night in the French capital.
Ibrahimovic and Serge Aurier both netted in the first 17 minutes for Laurent Blanc’s side before a shocking error by goalkeeper Kevin Trapp allowed Jordan Ferri to pull one back for Lyon.
However, Edinson Cavani restored PSG’s two-goal advantage after the restart and Ibrahimovic got his second of the night from a penalty.
Substitute Lucas added the fifth in stoppage time as PSG moved a scarcely credible 17 points clear of their nearest challengers Angers and Monaco with the campaign just 18 games old.
PSG are now unbeaten in 27 Ligue 1 games, a run going back to March, and remain on course to break the record for the most points halfway through a French season.
The great Lyon team of the last decade had 50 points at the mid-way stage in 2006/07, but Paris already have 48 points and so can set a new mark with a victory at Caen in their last game of the year.
“There will still be a second half of the season to play and we’ll need to show the same determination to keep picking up points,” warned Blanc.
This was a meeting of the reigning champions and the team that pushed them the furthest in the title race last season, but Lyon are a shadow of their old selves and were deprived of a host of key players at the Parc des Princes, including the injured Alexandre Lacazette.
Visiting goalkeeper Anthony Lopes had already saved from Ibrahimovic and Cavani before the Swede opened the scoring 11 minutes in when Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa, rather than clear, headed Thiago Silva’s long ball into his path.
Six minutes after that Paris struck again, Aurier gratefully heading in from close range after a brilliant dead-ball delivery from the left by Angel Di Maria.
– Trapp howler –
Lyon were given hope when Ferri let fly from almost 30 yards and Trapp, attempting to tip the shot over, only succeeded in helping the ball into the net.
The German was ironically cheered by the home fans whenever he got the ball after that and the goal did lift the away side.
Nevertheless, there was a gulf in class between the teams and PSG scored again just after the hour mark, Cavani turning in another Di Maria cross to score for the 10th time in Ligue 1 this season.
Ibrahimovic then struck again inside the final quarter of an hour, beating Lopes from the spot to score for the 14th time in his last 11 appearances after going down under a Henri Bedimo challenge in the box.
The fifth goal came on the break in stoppage time, Di Maria again with the assist and Lucas, always so effective coming off the bench, with the finish.
Eliminated from Europe despite beating Valencia in midweek, Lyon are sixth in the table and have now gone five Ligue 1 games without a win as the pressure on coach Hubert Fournier refuses to subside.
“I am of course very disappointed with the result and the margin of defeat but I am quite reassured by the spirit shown by the boys in our last two matches,” said Fournier.
Angers came from behind to draw 1-1 with Bordeaux as Romain Thomas cancelled out the opener from Diego Rolan, and they are ahead of Monaco only on goal difference.
The principality club moved into the top three for the first time since the opening weekend of the season as a late Fabinho penalty gave them a 1-0 win against Saint-Etienne, who had Kevin Malcuit sent off.
“It was a positive match. We controlled the opposition and they didn’t have many chances,” said Monaco coach Leonardo Jardim.
Meanwhile, Marseille are now seven home league games without a win after a 1-1 draw with Gazelec Ajaccio at the Stade Velodrome.
Jacques Zoua put the Corsicans in front from the penalty spot but Michy Batshuayi equalised before half-time with his 11th league goal of the season before OM had Abdelaziz Barrada sent off.