Ca­vani scores two to res­cue PSG in draw with leader Nice

Kuwait Times - - SPORTS -

Edin­son Ca­vani’s goals at one end are car­ry­ing a Paris Saint-Ger­main side that is con­ced­ing them with alarm­ing reg­u­lar­ity at the other. Ca­vani scored twice in the sec­ond half as the de­fend­ing cham­pion ral­lied from 2-0 down to draw 2-2 at home to league leader Nice on Sun­day. PSG has lost three times al­ready in the league this sea­son and nar­rowly avoided a fourth de­feat - hav­ing lost only twice all last sea­son. Af­ter 17 games, PSG sits in third place, three points be­hind Monaco and four be­hind Nice. The sit­u­a­tion would be a lot worse with­out Ca­vani’s league-lead­ing 16 goals - es­pe­cially if he had given in to the crit­ics who wanted him gone this sum­mer.

The some­times clumsy Uruguay for­ward was of­ten crit­i­cized by his own fans when play­ing a sup­port­ing role to Zla­tan Ibrahi­movic over the pre­vi­ous three cam­paigns. But he has stepped firmly out of Ibrahi­movic’s im­pos­ing shadow since the Swede joined Manch­ester United.

Al­to­gether, Ca­vani has 22 goals in 21 games this sea­son and 103 in his PSG ca­reer, mak­ing him the club’s third all-time lead­ing scorer. He is clos­ing on for­mer Por­tu­gal for­ward Pauleta (109) but re­mains some dis­tance be­hind Ibrahi­movic (156). Al­though de­fen­sive blun­ders hit PSG for the third straight game, it was an aw­ful mis­take from Nice goal­keeper Yoan Car­di­nale that gifted Ca­vani the equal­izier. Af­ter vol­ley­ing in right back Serge Aurier’s cross one minute af­ter the restart, Ca­vani then got the eas­i­est of tap-ins on the hour mark.

Car­di­nale flapped weakly at left back Layvin Kurzawa’s cross, pat­ting the ball onto the back of Dante. It fell to Ca­vani, one me­ter out. “What I re­gret is the two goals we con­ceded, they were too easy,” Nice coach Lu­cien Favre said on Canal Plus tele­vi­sion. “That joke goal was not pos­si­ble.”

In a mea­sure of how well Nice is play­ing, its play­ers were bit­terly dis­ap­pointed not to win. “We should have played much bet­ter in the sec­ond half,” Nice’s Brazil­ian de­fender Dante said. “We should have been clev­erer.”

Mid­fielder Wy­lan Cy­prien’s bril­liant curl­ing free kick from 25 me­ters put Nice ahead in the 32nd, to­tally against the run of play af­ter PSG had missed sev­eral chances.

Then, fol­low­ing a mix-up be­tween Brazil­ian de­fend­ers Thi­ago Silva and Mar­quin­hos on a cross from the left, striker Alas­sane Plea moved in be­tween them to make it 2-0 in first-half in­jury time with his 10th league goal of the sea­son. Mar­quin­hos made care­less mis­takes in a 3-0 de­feat away to Mont­pel­lier last week­end and was at fault for Lu­do­gorets’ sec­ond goal in a 2-2 home draw in the Cham­pi­ons League today.

Given such vul­ner­a­ble de­fend­ing, Nice had cause for re­gret. “We wasted our lead,” Cy­prien said. “But let’s not be too dra­matic. It’s still a good point that will serve us well.”


Mathieu Val­buena is fi­nally find­ing his best form for Lyon as the winger’s well-taken goal sealed a 1-0 home win. Mid­fielder Rachid Ghez­zal did well down the right and picked out Val­buena as he ad­vanced from the left into the penalty area. Val­buena drilled a low shot past goal­keeper Benoit Cos­til in the 28th minute to score for the third league game in a row. Lyon’s win moved it above Rennes into fourth place. Val­buena only man­aged one goal in 26 games last sea­son, when he had trou­ble set­tling in fol­low­ing a move from Di­namo Moscow.

Rennes de­fender Ramy Bense­baini was sent off in the 74th minute for pulling back striker Alexan­dre La­cazette as he was through on goal.


Al­though winger Ro­main Hamouma scored the win­ner for Saint-Eti­enne, the best per­for­mance came from its goal­keeper, Stephane Ruffier.

Hamouma fin­ished neatly mid­way through the first half fol­low­ing some fine work from right back Kevin Mal­cuit. Ruffier, who has played more than 200 league games for Les Verts, then made ex­cel­lent saves.

Saint-Eti­enne’s win moved it up to eighth place, just be­hind sixth-placed Guingamp. — AP

MILAN: Genoa’s Gio­vanni Sime­one and In­ter Milan’s Jei­son Murillo, left, vie for the ball dur­ing a serie A soc­cer match be­tween In­ter Milan and Genoa, at the San Siro sta­dium in Milan, Italy, Sun­day. —AP

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