The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION
Zlatan Ibrahimovic scores twice as PSG thrashes Nantes 5-0 to remain 5 points clear of Monaco
PARIS - Paris Saint-Germain continued its relentless march toward a second straight French title after thrashing Nantes 5-0 with a superb display of attacking football on Sunday, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic once again in irrepressible form as he scored twice and turned provider for Edinson Cavani.
Ibrahimovic drilled in a first-half penalty, then set up Cavani before grabbing his second of the night to take his league tally to 17 in 20 games season.
PSG never let up and could even have added further goals against a dispirited Nantes side. They will meet again next month in the semifinals of the League Cup and Nantes will hardly be looking forward to that contest. Center half Thiago Silva and midfielder Thiago Motta got PSG's other goals.
"The lads did a lot of good things and I think if we carry on like this we can win the Champions League as well," Silva said. "I feel really good here with everyone, the coach, the president and I think I will stay here until the end of my contract. Ibra is a great player with a big personality, and I think he will stay as well."
Meanwhile, Monaco won 2-0 away to Toulouse and Lyon made it 10 games unbeaten in all competitions with a 2-0 win at Reims.
But Monaco's win did little to unsettle PSG as former French president Nicolas Sarkozy was among the appreciative fans at Parc des Princes.
"I think the players enjoyed it more than anyone," PSG coach Laurent Blanc said. "We could have eased up at 3-0 but the players wanted to score more, and that's good."
PSG took the lead from a corner in 10th minute when goalkeeper Remy Riou saved Cavani's header and the rebound fell perfectly for Silva, giving him an easy finish from close range.
PSG doubled its lead in the 36th when Ibrahimovic sent Riou the wrong way from the spot after defender Issa Cissokho had tripped Marco Verratti just inside the penalty area. The Sweden forward has scored six penalties this season.
Brazilian winger Lucas came on for Argentina's Ezequiel Lavezzi at the start of the second half and within minutes he was involved in PSG's third goal in the 51st. His deep, floating cross from the right was headed back by Blaise Matuidi and Motta reacted quickly to slide the ball in from close range.
Ibrahimovic found himself in space on the right wing and curled in a perfect pass to give Cavani his 13th goal of the season in the 58th, and Ibrahimovic slammed the ball past Riou after Matuidi and substitute Javier Pastore combined to set him up in the 64th.
"We didn't do anything out there — in defence, midfield or up front. They just did what they wanted. We just sat back and waited," said Nantes winger Fabrice Pancrate, who used to play for PSG. "If you don't play properly against a team like this, you get a result like that. We seemed to be terrified. I didn't recognize my teammates out there."
Cavani missed two chances to make it 6-0 when he swiped a shot wide and then hit his shot straight at Riou after going clean through in the 87th.
Earlier, left back Layvin Kurzawa put Monaco ahead in the 36th with a low shot after being set up by midfielder Geoffrey Kondogbia, sweeping the ball in after running onto Kondogbia's cross from the left.
Lucas Ocampos came off the bench to add a second with a spectacular bicycle kick in the 88th. The Argentine winger replaced Colombia forward Radamel Falcao, after he missed three chances. Falcao has only scored once in his past five games for Monaco and appears short of form.
"It's an important three points for us and it helps us get back on track," Monaco coach Claudio Ranieri said.
Lyon's goals came from striker Alexandre Lacazette and midfielder Gueida Fofana, moving the seven-time French champion up to eighth place.
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