PSG stays in touch with leader Nice with 2-0 win vs. Angers
ABS-CBN Sports on Dec 01, 2016 10:38 AM
PSG's Edinson Cavani celebrates his penalty during a French League One soccer match Paris-Saint-Germain against Angers at Parc des Princes stadium in Paris, Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2016. Shirt show the logo of the Brazilian soccer team Chapecoense who died in a plane crash in Columbia. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)
JOHN LEICESTER, AP Sports Writer
PARIS (AP) — Although coach Unai Emery argues that his Paris Saint-Germain team is learning to live without Zlatan Ibrahimovic, they're clearly not completely over him quite yet.
While Ibrahimovic was again making a difference for his new club, scoring twice for Manchester United in a 4-1 English League Cup win against West Ham, PSG had to rely Wednesday night on a rare goal from captain Thiago Silva and an Edinson Cavani penalty for a 2-0 victory against Angers that lifted the defending champions to second in France's Ligue 1, behind Nice.
This was far less comfortable for PSG than the 5-1 humbling it inflicted on the Loire Valley side in their last league meeting in January. Ibrahimovic opened PSG's account in that game, another notch in his mind-boggling tally of 50 goals in 51 games in what proved to be his last season in the French capital.
Hatem Ben Arfa was PSG's standout player this time, the winger's pace and guile injecting urgency into an often pedestrian PSG performance that was nonetheless enjoyed, despite the lack of goals from open play, by a Parc des Princes crowd in fine voice.
A dribbling Ben Arfa foray, one of many, into the Angers box provoked a foul from defender Romain Thomas and a penalty that Cavani converted decisively in the 66th minute. The striker dedicated his 100th PSG goal to Chapecoense, peeling off his jersey to reveal a T-shirt bearing the logo of the Brazilian team devastated in a plane crash in Colombia.
Silva outran his marker to meet Lucas' corner kick and head the ball past Angers 'keeper Mathieu Michel for PSG's opening goal, and his first of the season, in the 34th minute.
The win kept PSG in touch with Nice, which needed a mesmerizing goal and skills from Younes Belhanda to beat Guingamp 1-0 and reclaim top spot from Monaco, which had been the overnight leader Tuesday after drawing 1-1 at Dijon. Nice now has 36 points from 15 matches. PSG has 35, with Monaco on 33.
Belhanda danced right to wrong-foot the Guingamp defense, carving himself space to send a curling shot into the left-hand top corner of the goal, beyond the outstretched dive of Guingamp 'keeper Karl-Johan Johnsson.
He celebrated the early strike, in just the fifth minute, with somersaults.
Lyon climbed to fourth place with a 6-0 thumping of Nantes, which slipped into the relegation zone.