Maxwell, Di Maria push PSG to extend Ligue 1 unbeaten streak vs. Bastia
Paris Saint-Germain stretched their impressive unbeaten run in Ligue 1 to 29 matches with a 2-0 win over SC Bastia at Parc des Princes on Friday. In the process, they gave themselves a provisional 22-point lead at the summit of Le Championnat.
After much confusion, Thiago Motta was awarded the hosts' opening goal of the game inside of 30 minutes ahead of captain Thiago Silva. However, there was no doubt over Maxwell's stunning volley for the second 10 minutes later in what was an outstanding performance from the veteran Brazilian.
Otherwise, it was a bit of a flat display from Laurent Blanc's men after they took the lead with their first attack of the match. After that moment, Bastia posed few problems for Les Parisiens.
Player ratings (1-10; 10=best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating):
GK Kevin Trapp, 4 -- Bastia rarely threatened the German goalkeeper on the night, but he still managed to make another glaring mistake. The 25-year-old spilled a routine catch in the second half and it almost resulted in the Corsicans scoring a consolation goal.
DF Serge Aurier, 5 -- It was not the Ivory Coast international's most impressive performance. The 23-year-old got forward well enough and was relatively untested defensively, but he misplaced too many passes and under-hit too many crosses.
DF Thiago Silva, 7 -- The Brazilian did not have too much to do in his 78 minutes on the pitch, but he dealt with what was asked of him with ease. Imposing in the air and strong in the tackle, it was the skipper's header from an Angel Di Maria corner that led to Motta's opener. Blanc will be hoping that his late injury is not too serious.
DF David Luiz, 6 -- Like Silva, Luiz was not given much to do by a Bastia side who came to Paris determined to avoid a thrashing and little else. The Brazil international was one of three players who could have claimed the opening goal, but in the end it was credited to Motta.
DF Maxwell, 8 -- The evergreen Brazilian produced a vintage display and capped it with a wonderful volleyed goal to make it 2-0 after 39 minutes. Otherwise, he was up and down the left side like a 24-year-old, belying his 34 years of age.
MF Thiago Motta, 7 -- The Italian quietly went about his job, imposing himself on Bastia and dictating the game for PSG. Although much of his work will have gone unnoticed, his 174 touches and 164 passes were the highest tallies in a Ligue 1 game from the past 10 seasons.
MF Marco Verratti, 6 -- It was not the Italy international's finest display, but the 23-year-old still found a novel way to stand out. Verratti picked up only his second yellow card of the Ligue 1 season, but did so in comic style with a foul on Axel Ngando that could have earned him a red had it not been in the middle of the pitch. His action still earned a standing ovation from the adoring home fans.
MF Blaise Matuidi, 5 -- The France international was quieter than normal and lacked his usual industry. The 28-year-old put in fewer crosses than usual and misplaced some of his passes.
FW Lucas Moura, 6 -- After a good finish to 2015, the Brazilian was given the start ahead of Edinson Cavani in the PSG front three. Although he did not make the most of it with a goal or an assist, it was still a decent showing from the 23-year-old with some useful, purposeful runs and intelligent passes.
FW Zlatan Ibrahimovic, 5 -- It was a quiet night for the Sweden international and he appeared more interested in his physical duel with Sebastien Squillaci than finding the back of the net. The 34-year-old had a few chances, but was unable to really test Jean-Louis Leca in the Bastia goal.
FW Angel Di Maria, 7 -- Once again, the Argentina international played an integral role as PSG eased to victory. It was El Fideo's corner that led to Motta's opening goal and the 27-year-old supplied the ball for Maxwell's spectacular second, but was denied the assist by a touch from Florian Marange.
MF Javier Pastore, 5 -- Introduced after 64 minutes to rapturous applause, it was a pleasure to see El Flaco back on the pitch after an extended absence through injury. The Argentinian showed plenty of rust, though, and could do with a few 90-minute outings to get back to full fitness.
DF Marquinhos, NR -- Sent on after 78 minutes in place of the injured Silva, but Bastia were creating little going forward to test the Brazilian by this point.
FW Ezequiel Lavezzi, NR -- Brought on after 81 minutes, the Argentina international added a bit of speed and helped to create a late chance, but was unable to inspire a third for PSG.
Jonathan Johnson is based in Paris and the voice of PSG TV. He also writes for French Football Weekly. Twitter: @Jon_LeGossip.