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Ligue 1 Wrap: PSG, Monaco overcome stern tests
Mar 17, 2014 10:26 AM EST
A day of little movement at the Ligue 1 summit saw Paris Saint-Germain and Monaco record wins over Saint-Etienne and Lyon.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored twice to reach 40 goals for the season in all competitions as PSG beat Saint-Etienne 2-0.
Each of the Sweden international's strikes on Sunday came in the first half, with his brace enabling the Ligue 1 leaders to restore their eight-point lead over Monaco at the top of the table.
Ibrahimovic has now scored 25 times in the league alone and had opportunities to register his third hat-trick of the campaign.
PSG had to withstand pressure in the second half at the Parc des Princes, with Salvatore Sirigu doing well to keep out Yohan Mollo and Moustapha Sall before Josuha Guilavogui wasted a golden opportunity.
Saint-Etienne were unable to find a way through and missed the chance to close the gap on third-placed Lille, meaning they remain five points off the UEFA Champions League places with nine games remaining.
Monaco had a mercurial striker of their own to thank for a 3-2 win over Lyon as Dimitar Berbatov had a hand in all three of their goals.
The Bulgarian set up Valere Germain and James Rodriguez benefitted from his inexplicable miss to put Monaco in the ascendancy, but Jimmy Briand struck before half-time to keep Remi Garde's side in with a shout.
Berbatov grabbed a crucial third for Monaco seven minutes after the interval, although he appeared to be offside as he latched onto James' throughball before chipping home.
Briand replied again with 12 minutes still to play but Lyon could not find an equaliser and remain three points behind Saint-Etienne, who occupy the UEFA Europa League qualifying spot.
Elsewhere, Montpellier and Bordeaux played out a 1-1 draw at the Stade de la Mosson.
Hilton's header cancelled out Henrique's similar effort, with a point moving the hosts six clear of the drop zone.