PARIS: The oft-maligned Edinson Cavani was at his clinical best yesterday with a first-half brace to help champions Paris Saint-Germain ease to a 2-0 victory over Bordeaux in Ligue 1.Cavani struck twice in the first half-hour at the Parc des Princes as PSG built on their midweek Champions League win away to Ludogorets in Bulgaria and got back on track domestically. Paris had come into the weekend in fourth spot in the table having lost at Toulouse last time out, their second defeat in just seven league matches under new coach Unai Emery. But this was a comfortable victory against a disappointing Bordeaux side, and it lifted PSG to within a point of leaders Nice, who host Lorient on Sunday.
“It’s possible that was our best match of the season, but in the second half we could have scored a third goal to make things easier and boost our confidence,” said Emery, who welcomed the return of the club’s ultras after a six-year ban. “The atmosphere was good. It is more positive for the team and shows it’s special to play at the Parc des Princes.” Cavani has extra responsibility as the spearhead of the champions’ attack since the departure of Zlatan Ibrahimovic, but he came in for huge criticism for an erratic display in last month’s Champions League draw with Arsenal, despite opening the scoring that night. And yet with his brace on a bright autumn afternoon in the French capital, the Uruguayan has now scored nine times in PSG’s subsequent five matches in all competitions.
Cavani got the breakthrough inside three minutes, attacking an Angel Di Maria cross from the left at the near post and heading past Cedric Carrasso in the Bordeaux goal. Carrasso was kept busy, tipping a Thomas Meunier shot around the post as PSG came forward in search of a second goal. They duly doubled their lead on the halfhour mark as Layvin Kurzawa’s low ball in from the left was deftly back-heeled in by Cavani. It was the former Napoli striker’s eighth goal of the season in Ligue 1 and his 13th altogether for club and country since the campaign began. Fortunately for Bordeaux there was no more scoring, although Di Maria did have a secondhalf effort disallowed for offside.
Di Maria was later replaced by teenager Jonathan Ikone, who came on to make his Ligue 1 debut, while summer signing Hatem Ben Arfa also came off the bench towards the end for the first time after being left out of PSG’s last five games. Monaco could go provisionally top with a win away to Metz, while Toulouse can climb back above Emery’s side if they beat Caen in Normandy. The big game of the weekend sees Lyon entertain sworn enemies Saint-Etienne in the Rhone-Alpes derby today evening.—AFP