Ca­vani chases PSG cen­te­nary, pres­sure on Nice

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Edin­son Ca­vani is in the best form of his ca­reer in French foot­ball and is tar­get­ing his 100th goal for Paris Sain­tGer­main as the reign­ing Ligue 1 cham­pi­ons en­ter­tain Angers yes­ter­day.

Uruguay striker Ca­vani scored both goals as PSG won 2-1 away to Lyon on Sun­day, tak­ing his tally to 99 al­to­gether for the club he joined from Napoli in 2013 for a French record fee of 64 mil­lion eu­ros ($67.8m, £54.6m).

Oft-ma­ligned for his abil­ity to miss chances rather than praised for the goals he does score, Ca­vani ap­pears lib­er­ated in the post-Zla­tan Ibrahi­movic era in the cap­i­tal and has 18 goals in 17 matches this sea­son. That leaves him fourth in the club’s all­time list, one be­hind Do­minique Ro­cheteau and also adrift of Pe­dro Pauleta and Ibrahi­movic, with the lat­ter rat­tling in 156 goals in just four years. “He is our goal-scorer. We just need to give him the con­fi­dence to do his job but he al­ways works so hard for the team,” said coach Unai Emery.

PSG wel­come mid-ta­ble Angers to the Parc des Princes look­ing to ex­tend a run of 11 games with­out de­feat in all com­pe­ti­tions and keep the pres­sure on in a three­way fight at the top of the ta­ble.

An­gel di Maria could re­turn af­ter miss­ing the last two games due to in­jury, while Javier Pa­s­tore is also a con­tender to re­turn but Layvin Kurzawa and Adrien Rabiot should miss out again. Nice have been top of the ta­ble since late Septem­ber but their lead was trimmed to a sin­gle point af­ter a week­end on which they were held to a 1-1 draw by Bas­tia while PSG won and Monaco thumped Mar­seille 4-0.

They have won just once in five games in November and Mario Balotelli is set to again miss their trip to Brit­tany to play fifth-placed Guingamp as he strug­gles with a calf prob­lem. “I am not wor­ried. I just hope that our con­cen­tra­tion doesn’t drop and we don’t start be­liev­ing we have achieved some­thing,” said mid­fielder Valentin Eysseric. “For the mo­ment we have achieved noth­ing and it is a very long sea­son.”

MONACO TO RO­TATE

Monaco can go pro­vi­sion­ally top as they visit Di­jon look­ing to ex­tend a run of eight games with­out de­feat in all com­pe­ti­tions.

The prin­ci­pal­ity club, who are the most pro­lific side in Europe’s big five leagues with an av­er­age of over three goals scored per game, are set to ro­tate their squad in Bur­gundy in the midst of a hec­tic fix­ture sched­ule. That means mid­fielder Thomas Le­mar, who made his de­but for France this month, could re­turn af­ter being rested at the week­end. “We are just a group of friends play­ing well to­gether,” said Le­mar, ex­plain­ing Monaco’s su­perb form that has made them gen­uine ti­tle con­tenders.

“We all know each other’s games and we are not sur­prised by how we are play­ing this sea­son. We are fully aware of our qual­i­ties.” Else­where Mar­seille are look­ing for a boost as they visit Saint-Eti­enne hav­ing won just once in five league matches since the ar­rival of Rudi Gar­cia as coach.

“We are go­ing to need to win a match quickly,” ad­mit­ted Gar­cia on Mon­day ahead of the meet­ing of France’s two most suc­cess­ful clubs but who these days lie well off the pace being set by the top three.

Mean­while, bit­ter ri­vals Nancy and Metz meet in the top flight for the first time in eight years and bot­tom club Lori­ent host Rennes in a Brit­tany derby. — AFP

NEW YORK: Bruce Arena, back in charge of the US na­tional soc­cer team for the first time in a decade, speaks dur­ing an in­ter­view in New York, yes­ter­day. Arena was hired last week to re­place Jur­gen Klins­mann as US coach fol­low­ing losses at home to Mex­ico and at Costa Rica in the first two games in the fi­nal round of World Cup qual­i­fy­ing. — AP

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