Zlatan Ibrahimovic saves Paris Saint-Germain in tough Toulouse match
Paris Saint-Germain have opened up a provisional 23-point lead at the top of Ligue 1 after a fortuitous 1-0 win away at Toulouse on Saturday.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored the only goal of the game deep into the second half, but Javier Pastore and Marquinhos being forced off with injuries at Stadium Municipal marred Les Parisiens' narrow and flattering victory.
The Swede turned in a David Luiz flick header to secure the three points, but PSG were lucky that they were not already trailing after Wissam Ben Yedder hit Kevin Trapp's crossbar during an impressive first half from the hosts.
Laurent Blanc's men managed to eke out the win though and that means the capital club are now unbeaten in 30 Ligue 1 games.
Player ratings (1-10; 10=best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Kevin Trapp, 6 -- After his shaky display in the 2-0 home win over SC Bastia recently, the German looked more confident and less panicked. The 25-year-old was rarely tested, but took care of everything he could with minimum fuss.
DF Serge Aurier, 6 -- Moved into central defence after Marquinhos' injury, the Ivory Coast international was excellent for the final 30 minutes of the match. The 23-year-old former Toulouse man made one particularly good sliding tackle when in the middle. Before that, it had not been his best day.
DF Marquinhos, 7 -- Forced off injured after an hour, the Brazilian was superb until then. The 21-year-old made a number of timely interventions and stood up to Ben Yedder and Martin Braithwaite well. Captain Thiago Silva was missing through injury, but you would have barely noticed because of the accomplished nature of Marquinhos' display.
DF David Luiz, 5 -- The Brazil international did not enjoy the smoothest of matches. An injury concern pre-game because of a back issue, Luiz was caught charging out of defence on a couple of occasions and Ben Yedder also toyed with him before hitting the crossbar in the first half. However, it was the 28-year-old's header that set Ibrahimovic up for the only goal of the encounter.
DF Maxwell, 5 -- A rare off day for the veteran Brazilian. Maxwell was solid enough defensively, but going forward he was not at his best. The 34-year-old over-hit a number of crosses and offered little else in attack.
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MF Thiago Motta, 5 -- In a workmanlike midfield three with Benjamin Stambouli and Blaise Matuidi, most of the creative responsibility fell to the Italian. Unable to rely on his telepathic understanding with Marco Verratti, who was on the bench, Motta was less influential than usual.
MF Benjamin Stambouli, 4 -- It was another disappointing performance from the Frenchman. Placed ahead of Motta in Verratti's usual role, Stambouli spent the majority of his 78 minutes on the pitch trying to do the same as Motta.
MF Blaise Matuidi, 4 -- Like Motta and Stambouli, Matuidi also struggled with such little creativity in the midfield. The France international found himself in a few useful positions on the left, but each time failed to produce an accurate cross or pass.
FW Lucas Moura, 5 -- Despite being one of PSG's more purposeful players on the day, the Brazil international was unable to build on his encouraging cameo appearance in the 2-1 win over Olympique Lyonnais on Wednesday. Lucas tried to be as insistent as possible, poking a decent chance wide at one point, but he had too few teammates looking to help him.
FW Zlatan Ibrahimovic, 6 -- A disappointing afternoon until he scored his headed goal, the Swede still managed to make the decisive contribution. Ibrahimovic went close with a well hit free kick late on, but Toulouse goalkeeper Alban Lafont did well to keep it out.
FW Javier Pastore, N/A -- Injured after just 16 minutes, it was a nightmare day for the Argentina international and he -- not to mention Blanc -- will hope that he is not about to embark upon another lengthy spell on the treatment table.
FW Edinson Cavani, 4 -- Sent on after 18 minutes in place of the injured Pastore, the Uruguay international did not do enough. Sloppy in control of the ball when he had it at times, he did not involve himself enough and missed another chance to impress.
DF Gregory van der Wiel, 5 -- Given the last 30 minutes after Marquinhos came off injured, the Dutchman took over at right-back from Aurier. Van der Wiel made little impression during that time on the pitch.
MF Marco Verratti, N/A -- Only introduced with 12 minutes to go, it was far too late by then to salvage what had been a horrible day for the midfield.
Jonathan Johnson covers PSG and the French national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @Jon_LeGossip.