Cavani becomes PSG all-time top scorer with 157
PSG's Edinson Cavani, right, and PSG's Neymar celebrates his goal during their French League One soccer match between Paris Saint Germain and Montpellier at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris, Saturday, Jan. 27, 2018. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
By Jerome Pugmire, Associated Press
PARIS (AP) — Edinson Cavani became Paris Saint-Germain's all-time leading scorer with 157 in a 4-0 home win against Montpellier in the French league on Saturday.
He scored one and set up the fourth for Neymar, who scored twice as PSG moved 11 points clear of Lyon at the top. Neymar has 17 in 16 league games since joining from Barcelona for a world record transfer fee of 222 million euros ($262 million).
But the day belonged to Cavani.
His 11th-minute goal put him ahead of former teammate Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who scored 156 in four seasons and 180 games with PSG from 2012-16. Cavani's strike rate is lower, with his tally coming from 229 games.
Cavani was presented with a trophy on the pitch after the game, and he took the microphone to thank the fans. He has become a firm favorite due to his work ethic, especially when having to play so often on the right wing to accommodate Ibrahimovic during his pomp.
"Life doesn't always give you such warmth. I want to keep doing even more for our supporters," Cavani told Canal Plus television. "It gives you a lot of motivation to become part of this club's history. It's magnificent. Honestly, I'm so happy to score this goal."
The Uruguay striker joined from Napoli in the summer of 2013 for a then-club record of 64 million euros ($76 million). He mainly played second fiddle to Ibrahimovic until he left for Manchester United.
In his absence, Cavani came into his own in his favored center forward's role, netting a career best 49 goals in all competitions last season and finishing as the league top scorer with 35. He tops the scoring charts again with 21 so far, but Neymar is catching him up.
Cavani made a run to the front post to turn in midfielder Adrien Rabiot's low cross, with Neymar involved in the build-up.
Neymar made it 2-0 from the penalty spot near halftime following a handball from defender Pedro Mendes.
Winger Angel Di Maria made it six goals in six games, turning in right back Thomas Meunier's cross from the right flank.
Di Maria then released Cavani down the right with a clever reverse pass, and Cavani's quick cross from the right was tapped in by Neymar.
"Neymar is doing a lot for the club," Cavani said. "The most important thing is the club keeps moving forward and we all stick together."
Montpellier boasted the league's best defense — having conceded 15 in 22 prior to the match — but was no match for a PSG attack which has netted 72.
NANTES USE THEIR NOGGINS
Nantes coach Claudio Ranieri recently criticized his players for a lack of concentration after some sloppy performances.
They responded in the best way with a 3-0 win away to Guingamp, a result sweetened by Nice's defeat at last-place Metz.
Nantes kept hold of fifth place and moved three points clear of sixth-place Nice, which lost 2-1. Striker Nolan Roux scored both for Metz either side of an equalizer from Italy striker Mario Balotelli.
Elsewhere, Saint-Etienne beat Caen 2-1, while Angers beat Amiens 1-0 to move away from the relegation zone and up to 16th.
Struggling Toulouse remained 18th — in the promotion-relegation playoff spot — but picked up a useful 1-0 home win against 17th-placed Troyes, for which defender Jimmy Giraudon was sent off after three minutes.
In Sunday's games, Lyon goes to Bordeaux and third-place Marseille hosts fourth-place Monaco.