PSG beat Lyon to turn up pres­sure on lead­ers Nice

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Paris Saint-Ger­main closed to within a point of lead­ers Nice in Ligue 1 on Sun­day as Edin­son Ca­vani’s brace se­cured an im­pres­sive 2-1 win away to Lyon.

Ca­vani opened the scor­ing with a penalty only for Mathieu Val­buena to equalise, but the Uruguayan headed in the win­ner nine min­utes from time for his 18th goal of the sea­son in all com­pe­ti­tions.

Nice, who were held to a 1-1 draw at home by Bas­tia ear­lier in the day, fin­ish the week­end where they started it, on top of the ta­ble, but they are now only a sin­gle point bet­ter off than in-form Monaco and Paris. “We knew it wasn’t go­ing to be easy here but we ended up win­ning. I think our ex­pe­ri­ence made the dif­fer­ence,” PSG mid­fielder Blaise Ma­tu­idi told Canal Plus.

PSG had Serge Aurier back in the side af­ter he missed the mid­week Cham­pi­ons League trip to Arsenal as Bri­tish au­thor­i­ties barred the Ivo­rian in­ter­na­tional from en­ter­ing the United King­dom due to a re­cent con­vic­tion for as­sault­ing a po­lice of­fi­cer.

They went in front at the Parc OL on the half-hour mark as Ca­vani net­ted from the penalty spot af­ter Rafael was pe­nalised for kick­ing Thi­ago Motta in the area. Lyon were poor in the first half but coach Bruno Ge­n­e­sio sent on Val­buena and Na­bil Fekir at the restart and was re­warded with an equaliser in the 48th minute.

Rafael cut in from the right and curled a shot off the far post, but the ball fell to France mid­fielder Val­buena, who con­verted for his first Ligue 1 goal in more than a year. How­ever, Paris showed great re­solve to go on and win the game, sub­sti­tute Thomas Me­u­nier break­ing for­ward down the right with Aurier and cross­ing for Ca­vani to head in at the back post.

The Uruguayan now has 13 league goals this sea­son and 99 goals in to­tal for the club he joined from Napoli in 2013.

An im­prov­ing PSG are un­beaten in their last 11 games in all com­pe­ti­tions and are turn­ing up the pres­sure on Nice, as are Monaco, who beat Mar­seille 4-0 on Satur­day.

Nice were again miss­ing Mario Balotelli against Bas­tia due to a calf in­jury but they went in front at the Al­lianz Riviera when top scorer Alas­sane Plea headed in his eighth of the sea­son early on.

How­ever, strug­gling Bas­tia-who had not won any of their pre­vi­ous six league out­ings-equalised on the hour as Enzo Criv­elli fol­lowed up to score af­ter goal­keeper Yoan Car­di­nale had come out and saved from Yan­nick Cahuzac. Nice still could have taken all three points but Malang Sarr headed against the post from a Jean Michael Seri free-kick and Plea rounded goal­keeper Jean-Louis Leca only to hit the bar with his shot three min­utes from the end. “We didn’t get the breaks that have helped us be­fore when we have not played so well,” ad­mit­ted Nice coach Lu­cien Favre. “We scored quite early on and then, maybe sub­con­sciously, we started to re­lax.

“All our matches against teams to­wards the bot­tom of the ta­ble have been dif­fi­cult.” Saint-Eti­enne won 2-1 at Angers ear­lier in the day to go eighth. There is more ac­tion in France in mid­week, with Monaco at Di­jon to­day be­fore Nice visit Guingamp and PSG en­ter­tain Angers to­mor­row evening. — AFP

DECINES: Paris Saint Ger­main’s Edin­son Roberto Ca­vani, down, chal­lenges for the ball with Lyon’s Mapou Yanga Mbiwa, up, dur­ing their French League One soc­cer match in Decines, near Lyon, cen­tral France, Sun­day. — AP

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