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Neymar and Cavani strike again as PSG go 10 points clear Featured

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Published in France Ligue 1
Thursday, 30 November 2017 10:02

Neymar and Edinson Cavani, Paris St Germain's deadly double act, again delivered a goal apiece in a sluggish 2-0 victory over Troyes that took them 10 points clear of their Ligue 1 challengers.

While their nearest chasers lost, Lyon succumbing 2-1 at home to struggling Lille and Monaco falling 1-0 at Nantes after a last-gasp Lucas Lima thunderbolt, PSG marched on without ever hitting top gear.
They left it late as a brilliant Neymar strike in the 73rd minute, his 15th PSG goal in all competitions, eased nerves at the Parc des Princes before the Brazilian set up Cavani, who had a first-half penalty saved, to score in stoppage time.

The pair had a spirited debate over who should take the penalty, with Cavani winning the argument, but they worked in perfect harmony for the Uruguayan's 23rd goal, stretching his lead as top marksman in Europe's major leagues this season.
The losses for Lyon and Monaco enabled Marseille, with their emphatic 3-0 win at bottom club Metz, to move into second place but they are 10 points adrift of unbeaten PSG, who moved on to 41 points after 15 games.

Third-placed Lyon and Monaco, both on 29 points, were left two points behind Marseille.

PSG had seemed out of sorts against mid-table opponents they had hammered 9-0 in their last meeting when sealing the title in 2016, but looked to be in charge once Cavani earned the penalty with a theatrical fall under Karim Azamoum's shirt tug.

Just as during a game against Lyon in September when the pair argued over who should take the set-piece duties, Cavani won the day but his 40th minute spot kick was saved by Mamadou Samassa, who was way off his line as the ball was struck.

Neymar, who never stopped trying to galvanise the side, took his one chance superbly, marauding to the edge of the box before unleashing a left-foot shot worthy of the world's most expensive player.

Champions Monaco's miserable spell continued after their Champions League exit and weekend loss to PSG when Nantes' Brazilian substitute Lima cracked home a left foot half-volley to give Claudio Ranieri's side a well deserved win.

Lyon's eight-match unbeaten run in the league was ended surprisingly by Lille, whose goals from Thiago Mendes and Ezequiel Ponce were both aided by poor defending.

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    The world's most expensive player was whistled by his own fans after he showed a lack of generosity to his Uruguayan team-mate

    Neymar was not angry despite being whistled by Paris Saint-Germain supporters during an 8-0 thrashing of Dijon, in which the Brazilian was in inspired form, according to club captain Thiago Silva.

    The world's most expensive player scored four goals as the Ligue 1 leaders ran riot on Wednesday, extending their advantage from nearest rivals Lyon to 11 points ahead of Sunday's game between the two sides.

    Neymar also provided a pair of assists in a glittering individual performance, but he was involved in another on-pitch disagreement with strike partner Edinson Cavani.

    The Uruguayan headed in PSG's third goal of the night to draw level with the club's record goalscorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic on 156 in all competitions.

    But when Cavani won a late penalty with the score at 7-0 and Neymar having already wrapped up his hat-trick, the former Barcelona man denied his colleague the chance to surpass Ibrahimovic.

    The Parc des Princes crowd chanted for Cavani to take the kick and Neymar was whistled after he stepped up to convert from 12 yards, but Silva insisted the Brazilian was unaffected by the reaction to his decision to take the penalty.

    "No, I do not think he was angry when he left," Silva told Canal+.

    "There was some of the supporters against him, but the most important thing is the final score and the win.

    "And for Edi, the record will come. He scores all the time, there are still a lot of games to play this year, he will beat all records."

    Unfortunately for PSG coach Unai Emery, his side's thrilling demolition of Dijon was partly overshadowed by Neymar's lack of generosity by denying Cavani his share of the spotlight, but the former Sevilla coach insists all is well in camp.

    "Cavani, he is our goalscorer, he improved a lot, his individual statistics help the team and the team help him get his goals," Emery said.

    "Neymar hit the penalty kick and he [Cavani] will have other chances to score more goals. The team is better with Neymar. All wins and stats are made to benefit the whole team."

    Despite Neymar hogging the headlines again, Emery felt PSG's performance was their best of the season so far, with the 8-0 scoreline their most emphatic victory of the Spaniard's 18-month reign.

    "We talk a lot about maintaining the level and the requirement to build a team with a strong mentality," Emery said.

    "With each match, we will seek the best performance to grow and improve when the most important matches will arrive.

    "It is possible that it is the best game of PSG in the league this season, the team played together the whole game, the whole team shone."

  • Real President: Neymar could win Ballon d'Or at Madrid

    Real Madrid president Florentino Perez has opened the door for Neymar to join the European champions by declaring it would help further the forward's individual ambitions.

    Neymar finished third behind Lionel Messi and winner Cristiano Ronaldo in the Ballon d'Or on Thursday and Perez suggested the only way for the Brazilian to break the duo's stranglehold on the prize - which has extended to a decade - would be to join Real.
    "Being in Madrid would make it easier to win the Ballon d'Or," Perez told Spanish radio. "Madrid is a club that gives a big player everything they need to do so. Everyone knows I wanted to sign him."
    Perez attempted to bring Neymar to Real from Santos on several occasions before he plumped for arch-rivals Barcelona in 2013.

    He enjoyed success in Catalonia, helping Barcalona win the treble in 2015 before leaving for Paris St Germain in a world- record 222 million euro deal this year.

    In September Neymar, 25, was involved in an on-field spat with team mate Edinson Cavani over who was going to take a penalty and there has been growing media speculation that his stint in the French capital could be a brief one.

  • PSG lose first match of season in Strasbourg as Neymar and Co falter

    Paris Saint-Germain's star-studded side lost for the first time this season as Strasbourg held on for a famous 2-1 victory following Stephane Bahoken's second-half strike.

    After 13 wins and two draws to start the league season for Unai Emery's pace-setters, Saturday's result came out of the blue.

    Da Costa stunned the visitors with a 13th-minute opener, getting in behind their defence to nod home a free-kick swung across from the left by Dimitri Lienard.

    Kylian Mbappe pounced for an equaliser in the 42nd minute, the teenage striker meeting a driven cross from the left by Adrien Rabiot at the near post and giving Strasbourg goalkeeper Bingourou Kamara no chance.
    But Strasbourg restored their lead in the 65th minute when Bahoken burst through the middle to beat Alphonse Areola with a thumping strike high into the net.

    Home shot-stopper Kamara had to be replaced due to injury with 20 minutes remaining, as Alexandre Oukidja came on in his place, and moments later the league's leading scorer Edinson Cavani stepped off the bench as PSG chased an equaliser.
    Pressure was intensely applied to the Strasbourg goal, with nine minutes of stoppage time giving them even greater hope of a leveller.

    But Neymar was booked as frustration in the PSG ranks grew, with Strasbourg clinching a stunning win.

  • Mbappe returns to Monaco for 'special match'

    Monaco are preparing for the return of their former favourite Kylian Mbappe as Paris St Germain attempt to take another step towards the Ligue 1 title.

    The hosts of Sunday evening's top-of-the-table clash are wounded after their Champions League campaign proved such a disappointment.
    A European season that promised so much will see Monaco finish bottom of a group in which their rivals were Besiktas, Porto and Leipzig.

    That grim performance provides a striking contrast to Paris St Germain who have set a tournament group-stage scoring record already in scorching through to the second round, after netting 24 goals in just five games so far.

    The capital side's forward line of Mbappe, Neymar and Edinson Cavani could further sting Monaco, whose defence of their league championship might be as good as over should they suffer a Stade Louis II defeat.

    Unbeaten PSG already lead the table by six points from second-placed Monaco.

    Eighteen-year-old striker Mbappe played a key role for Monaco in last season's success before joining PSG on loan in the summer, ahead of a planned permanent deal.

    "It's a great thing for Kylian to return to Monaco," said PSG head coach Unai Emery.

    "He is very happy with what he achieved there. It will be a special match for him, but he will give 100 per cent for Paris St Germain."

    Wherever Monaco look, they will recognise danger in the opposition. But the Parisian visitors to the principality are taking nothing for granted.

    "Monaco didn't have a good run in the Champions League this year but, in the league, they have the same number of points they had at the same stage last season," Emery added, quoted on PSG's website.

    "They play out of their skins when they take on Paris, and we have a lot of respect for them."

    Monaco won the corresponding fixture 3-1 last season, and a dossier that resembled a list of reasons to be optimistic was published on the club's website ahead of this weekend's game.
    It pointed to how Monaco have lost only one of their last 15 league matches against PSG, and how the one slip-up in that sequence, a 3-0 defeat in August 2015, was the last time the Monegasques failed to score at home in the championship.

    Emery said it was a "Champions League-level match", but the last thing Monaco want is a repeat of their performances in that competition.

    Monaco head coach Leonardo Jardim said: "We missed our target of advancing in the Champions League. Now we have to move on to other things and think about current targets: the league and the two cups.

    "We're going to play against a very strong team. They took no risks by signing very big players: two of the best players in the FIFA XI (Dani Alves and Neymar) and the Golden Boy."

    Mbappe collected the latter accolade in October, named Europe's best young player by Italian newspaper Tuttosport.

    Jardim, quoted on Monaco's website, said his team must "play with ambition" and the right attitude.

  • Cavani scores twice as PSG hammer Nantes

    PARIS, Nov 18 (Reuters) - Paris St Germain's unstoppable march towards the Ligue 1 title continued when Edinson Cavani's double inspired them to a 4-1 home win against Nantes on Saturday.

    Cavani netted either side of half-time as Javier Pastore and Angel Di Maria also scored to put the unbeaten capital side on 35 points from 13 games, six ahead of second-placed Monaco after the champions were held to a 1-1 at Amiens on Friday.

    Nantes, who are fifth on 23 points, scored through Prejuce Nakoulma as Claudio Ranieri's team faltered under pressure.

    The visitors got off to a solid start but cracked before half-time.

    Cavani opened the scoring with a clinical finish from inside the box after being perfectly set up by Pastore.
    It was the Uruguay striker's 14th goal after 13 games in the league, the best tally in the French championship since Dick van Dijk with Nice in the 1972-73 season.

    Di Maria doubled the advantage three minutes later with a curled cross that nobody could connect with and ended up in the back of the net at the far post.

    Nakulma reduced the arrears on the hour mark from close range but Nantes' hopes were short lived.

    Five minutes later, Pastore restored a two-goal advantage for the hosts with a powerful shot after being set up by Marco Verratti's through ball.

    Cavani put the game to bed 11 minutes from time, poking the ball home from a packed goal-mouth.

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