PSG routs Saint-Etienne 5-0 in French league
PARIS (AP) — Zlatan Ibrahimovic notched a hat trick on his return from injury as defending champion Paris Saint-Germain thrashed Saint-Etienne 5-0 in the French league on Sunday.
The return of the Sweden striker seemed to PSG’s attack the spark it was missing in a goalless draw the previous weekend.
The hosts took the lead in the 24th minute with an own goal from Saint-Etienne goalkeeper Stephane Ruffier, who missed his first touch while taking a back pass from Jeremy Clement.
Ibrahimovic, who sat out the previous game with a left oblique injury, doubled the lead by heading home a cross from PSG leftback Maxwell in the 41st and then intercepted a back pass from Kevin Monnet-Paquet to dribble past Ruffier for a 3-0 lead in the 62nd.
Edinson Cavani made it 4-0 a minute later with a curling shot from 25 yards before Ibrahimovic beat the offside trap to slip the ball past Ruffier in the 72nd.
“It’s an important result because we need to get points and the season is very long,” PSG winger Lucas Moura told BeIn Sports television.
PSG has eight points from its first four games, trailing leader Bordeaux by two points.
Bordeaux dropped its first points this season by drawing with Bastia 1-1, while Lyon lost 2-1 to promoted Metz for a third straight defeat in the league.
At Parc des Princes, PSG goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu kept a clean sheet by tipping a volley from Mevlut Erding over the bar in the 35th and parrying a powerful strike from Max-Alain Gradel in the 83rd.
Saint-Etienne attempted to trouble PSG by using a 3-5-2 system. But the visitors seemed too weary after winning a penalty shootout in the Europa League playoffs on Thursday.
“In some plays, we rediscovered the PSG that I like,” PSG coach Laurent Blanc told Canal Plus television. “We knew Saint-Etienne wanted to block us in midfield. We therefore knew the flanks would be important and we used them well tonight.”
At Stade Chaban-Delmas, Bastia striker Gadji Tallo pounced on a loose ball to score with a low strike in the 18th minute before Bordeaux forward Diego Rolan chested down a cross from Mariano to equalize with a spinning shot in the 79th.
Bordeaux was lucky not to concede a penalty and a red card in the 75th when centerback Nicolas Pallois diverted a goalbound shot from Bastia winger Floyd Ayite onto the bar with his hand.
“That play killed our match,” Bastia midfielder Guillaume Gillet said. “Obviously, it’s game over if we lead 2-0.”
In Metz, substitute Juan Falcon scored the winner with a diving header in the 86th.
Alexandre Lacazette initially put Lyon ahead by converting a cross from Jordan Ferri in the 68th. But Metz winger Yeni Ngbakoto equalized with a penalty in the 82nd after Ferri fouled Bouna Sarr.
On Saturday, it was: Monaco 1, Lille 1; Caen 0, Rennes 1; Lens 4, Reims 2; Lorient 4, Guingamp 0; Nantes 1, Montpellier 0; and Toulouse 1, Evian 0.
Marseille thrashed Nice 4-0 on Friday.