Ligue 1: Paris Saint-Germain 3 Valenciennes 0
By Football News
Paris Saint-Germain made it 25 games unbeaten at home in Ligue 1 with a comprehensive 3-0 win over Valenciennes on Friday.
Laurent Blanc's side dominated large parts of the game against their relegation-threatened opponents and had Ezequiel Lavezzi, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and an own goal to thank for a 17th league win of the season as leaders PSG went eight points clear of Monaco.
Lavezzi opened the scoring with a close-range finish in the 18th minute, but PSG were unable to add to their tally until the 50th minute, despite enjoying 69 per cent possession and having 15 shots at goal in the first half alone.
Ibrahimovic eventually doubled his side's lead to take his tally at the Parc des Princes to seven in his last five home league games.
And the result was put beyond any doubt when Gary Kagelmacher turned a Jeremy Menez cross into his own goal two minutes later.
The defeat is Valenciennes' 14th of the Ligue 1 season and leaves the side in the bottom three.
PSG, who gave a first start to Yohan Cabaye, started with real attacking intent and should have been two goals ahead inside the opening 10 minutes as Valenciennes struggled to contain them.
Ibrahimovic saw a flicked effort cleared off the line by Kagelmacher in the fourth minute and Nicolas Penneteau then made a fine save to deny Thiago Silva five minutes later.
With pressure beginning to build on the Valenciennes' goal, it was unsurprising that PSG's bright start paid dividends as Lavezzi plundered his fourth goal of the season in the 18th minute.
An Ibrahimovic free-kick squeezed through the wall and dropped at the feet of the Argentine, who calmly fired low past Penneteau from eight yards.
The 28-year-old could have had a hat-trick before the half hour, but he wasted two excellent chances, while Lucas Digne saw a low shot go just wide.
Valenciennes' only sight of goal in the first half came in the 31st minute as PSG failed to clear a left-wing cross, the ball fell to David Ducourtioux, but he dragged his shot wide after controlling the ball with his chest.
Ibrahimovic, having been denied in the first half, got his goal five minutes into the second period after some slack defending from the visitors.
Having failed to clear Digne's cross, Valenciennes allowed Menez the chance to volley towards goal. He failed to connect properly, but the ball bounced to the Sweden international and he nonchalantly fired home his 19th league goal of the season from 12 yards.
It was 3-0 two minutes later as Kagelmacher got himself into a tangle trying to clear Menez's cross and the Uruguayan inadvertently turning the ball into his own goal.
With the game won, Blanc began to think about the first leg of PSG's UEFA Champions League tie with Bayer Leverkusen on Tuesday as Ibrahimovic, Lavezzi and Thiago Motta were all substituted and as the hosts coasted to victory.