Valenciennes FC 0-4 PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN
1970 PSG Man Of The Match: Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Zlatan Ibrahimovic came to the fore once again as he led Paris Saint-Germain to a 4-0 win away to Valenciennes to heap the pressure on league leaders Olympique Lyonnais.
Ezequiel Lavezzi netted a fourth late on Les Parisiens continue their fantastic run of form where they have scored eight in the last two without conceding. It really was an assured performance which had Carlo Ancelotti purring.
He made just the one change from the 4-0 win over Evian at the weekend. Blaise Matuidi – who was suspended for the game – came into the middle of the park in place of Clement Chantome, partnering Thiago Motta. The Brazilian born Italian international continued his return to first-team action with another positive performance. The 4-4-2 was again utilised with Javier Pastore operating down the right-hand side and Lavezzi on the opposite. The two Argentines – in particular Lavezzi – were superb throughout, cutting inside, linking up with Ibrahimovic and Jeremy Menez.
The first-half was relatively even in truth. Valenciennes came out the traps and looked energetic and sprite in the opening. All their attacks were coming from the right-hand side, clearly a game plan of theirs and they were finding some joy. In particular Matheiu Dossevi who was giving Maxwell food for thought as he worked the space.
Thiago Silva was giving a master-class in how to be the best central defender in the world. Time and again he was intercepting the ball and clearing everything the men in red put into the box. The skipper also played the role of peacemaker at times, calming his teammates down as they debated with the referee.
The Parisiens took the lead thanks to Ibra on the half-hour mark. Some lovely play by Pastore and Menez culminated in the Frenchman’s driven cross being diverted by Nicolas Penneteau into the path of Lavezzi who struck it and the ball was subsequently tapped in by the big Swede.
That really knocked the stuffing out of VAFC and they never really recovered despite their early flurry which would have gave them some encouragement.
Ancelotti’s men were worthy of the lead and they doubled it thanks to Ibra getting his brace early into the second-half. Pastore’s volley on the edge of the box was palmed out by the goalkeeper into the path of the league’s top scorer to tap in.
He got his deserved hat-trick minutes later and his 17th Ligue 1 goal after Lavezzi slipped in Menez down the left and the Frenchman coolly squared the ball for his teammate to tap in with ease.
The game was as good as over and the hosts could not recover despite their fans best efforts to rally them on.
Lavezzi made it 4-0 late on which brought a broad smile from Ancelotti. Substitute Marco Verratti passed it to the El Pocho who let the ball run off his body, outstripping Benjamin Angoua for pace and finishing elegantly.
Another superb win for the capital club, putting us within two points of leaders Lyon who play Nancy tomorrow. Ancelotti has struck gold with the 4-4-2 system and we look so much better off for it. Again, the wide men were superb. The two Argentines are getting better and better as their run in the side continues.
But, deservedly the headlines will be reserved for the wonderful Ibrahimovic. He is pulling away from everyone in the top scorer ranks. No world-class finishes from him tonight, just a potency in front of goal and if continues to add them to his collection, the better for PSG.