Paris St. Germain eases to 4-0 win
Paris St. Germain sounded a warning shot to its Ligue 1 title rivals with a comprehensive dismantling of lowly Evian on Saturday afternoon.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored one and made one for Ezequiel Lavezzi as the hosts raced into a 2-0 lead after half an hour, while Thiago Motta and Kevin Gameiro added gloss to the scoreline late on as Carlo Ancelotti's men closed to within two points of league leader Lyon.
The capital club advanced to the knockout stages of the Champions League earlier this week but had won just one of its past five league fixtures before Saturday and badly needed a positive result to reignite its stuttering title bid.
Ibrahimovic served an early warning of his goalscoring threat -- were any needed -- when he flashed an acrobatic effort wide of the right post in the 19th minute.
The Sweden international did not have to wait much longer to make the breakthrough, 28 minutes showing on the clock when he expertly drilled home his 14th league goal of the season after latching onto Christophe Jallet's pass.
Three minutes later the hosts doubled their lead as Jeremy Menez picked out Ibrahimovic, who chested down for Lavezzi to take a touch before unleashing a powerful finish.
The one-way traffic continued after the break with Ibrahimovic seeing a fierce 63rd-minute effort slam against the woodwork.
PSG's frustration at failing to turn its dominance into more goals almost cost it when an error in defense gifted Saber Khelifa a shooting chance but the Tunisian's effort lacked conviction.
Olivier Sorlin flashed an effort wide in the 80th minute as Evian briefly threatened again, but the game was finally settled four minutes later when Javier Pastore crossed for Motta to drill home right-footed from the penalty spot.
And with three minutes remaining the scoring was complete as Ibrahimovic played a one-two with Menez before providing a pinpoint cross that Gameiro steered into the net.
Fifth-placed Valenciennes and sixth-spotted Rennes lost ground in the title race Saturday as they only managed draws which left them five points off leader Lyon, which visits fourth-placed St. Etienne on Sunday.
Rennes looked all set to climb to fourth place after second-half goals by Julien Feret and Romain Alessandrini put them in the driving seat against Brest, but the visitors rallied with goals from Benoit Lesoimier and Charlison Benschop in the final 20 minutes.
Brest lost Ahmed Kantari to a second yellow card in the last minute following an altercation with the referee but held on for a 2-2 draw.
Valenciennes needed a second-half own goal to earn a 1-1 draw against bottom-of-the-table Nancy at the Stade Marcel Picot.
Jordan Loties opened the scoring for the hosts just after the half-hour and that looked to be enough to get Jean Fernandez's side only a second league win of the season, until Massodio Haidara put through his own net 17 minutes from time.
Nancy remained at the foot of the standings -- still level on points with Troyes, which drew 1-1 at home to Nice.
Elsewhere, Montpellier brushed aside meek Ajaccio 3-0 to climb toward mid-table safety.
The champions are not the same side that won the title last season, but they had little problem seeing off relegation-threatened Ajaccio thanks to goals from John Utaka, Remy Cabella and Younes Belhanda.
Ten-man Sochaux moved out of the relegation zone with a 1-1 home draw against Lille.
The mid-table visitors, who have been somewhat off the pace this season after finishing third in the last campaign, took the lead in the 62nd minute through Nolan Roux.
Sochaux hit back immediately through Tunisia international Yassin Mikari, though it had to hang on in the closing stages after Loic Poujol was dismissed for a second bookable offense.