PSG beats Bastia 4-0 to win League Cup
PARIS (AP) — Zlatan Ibrahimovic and substitute Edinson Cavani both scored twice Saturday as Paris Saint-Germain won its first trophy of the season by retaining the League Cup with a 4-0 win over 10-man Bastia.
Ibrahimovic, who missed last season’s final through injury, opened the scoring from the penalty spot after Sebastien Squillaci was sent off, and doubled the lead just before halftime. Cavani added more luster to the win in the closing stages of the match with a fine header and a cool finish at the end of a counterattack.
PSG is chasing an unprecedented quadruple, as Laurent Blanc side also made it to the French Cup final and leads the French league standings. But it will be without Ibrahimovic next week against Barcelona in the first leg of the Champions League quarterfinals and the Sweden striker will miss also miss four matches of the domestic season after receiving another ban for his criticism of a referee.
“We are ready for Barcelona,” said PSG president Nasser Al Khelaifi.
Ibrahimovic has been in tremendous form recently, scoring a hat trick in the 4-1 win over Saint-Etienne in the French Cup semifinals midweek and bagging 13 goals in his last seven appearances for club and country.
Once again, he was the man of the match at the Stade de France.
With David Luiz and Thiago Motta both out with injuries, Serge Aurier returned to the PSG defense while Adrien Rabiot was given a starting role in midfield. In a tight start to the game, PSG created the first chance in the fourth minute when Ibrahimovic collected a long pass in the box following a free kick from Ezequiel Lavezzi, but the tall Swede was flagged offside.
PSG had a penalty claim turn down soon after when Gael Danic touched the ball with his right arm inside the box. But referee Benoit Bastien pointed to the spot in the 20th minute after Squillaci brought Ezequiel Lavezzi down, with the former Arsenal player receiving a straight red card for his foul.
Second on PSG’s all-time top scorers list behind Pedro Pauleta with 104 goals, Ibrahimovic made no mistake from the spot, sending ’keeper Alphonse Areola the wrong way with a shot in the top left corner.
Squillaci’s red card forced Bastia coach Ghislain Printant to change his strategy, with Mathieu Peybernes coming in for Danic. The move did not make a big difference as PSG took complete control of the match and overwhelmed Bastia midfield.
Pegged back in their own half, the Corsicans fought back PSG’s relentless attacks for 20 minutes but a poor headed clearance from Peybernes fell into Ibrahimovic’s path, with the Swede chesting down the ball before unleashing a low shot at the near post to double the lead.
PSG continued to apply pressure after the interval and went close in the 48th when Pastore saw his angled shot end just wide at the far post.
PSG goalkeeper Nicolas Douchez enjoyed a quiet evening and Florian Marange failed to convert Bastia’s first occasion in the 56th minute, sending his header just wide.
Bastia tried everything in the closing stages of the game but lacked a cutting edge and was caught on the break when Cavani struck a perfect header at the far post from Aurier’s cross to make it 3-0 with 10 minutes remaining.
Another PSG counterattack brought another goal in added time, with Cavani curling a shot past Areola from Ibrahimovic’s assist as PSG claimed its fifth League Cup.
“The match was over after 20 minutes following the penalty and the sending off,” said Marange. “We knew the referee would not make us any gift.”