Ligue 1

Ligue 1: Paris Saint-Germain Make History In Montpellier Smashing

PARIS, FRANCE - JANUARY 27: Edinson Cavani reacts after scoring his 157th goal for the Paris Saint-Germain which makes him the all time top scorer of the club during the Ligue 1 match between Paris Saint Germain and Montpellier Herault SC at Parc des Princes on January 27, 2018 in Paris. (Photo by Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images )
Ligue 1: Paris Saint-Germain Make History In Montpellier Smashing

The 4-0 hammering of Michel Der Zakarian’s Montpellier HSC by Unai Emery’s Paris Saint-Germain was important for a number of reasons. First, it was a good response to a rare defeat in the year, a 2-1 road loss to Bruno Genesio’s Olympique Lyonnais. Second, the team proved that it could lift without the hot-headed Dani Alves damaging the team’s fortunes on the pitch. Third, Edinson Cavani set a new record for career Ligue 1 goals for PSG with 157 goals to his name. And fourth, Neymar Santos Jr., on a penalty, scored Paris Saint-Germain’s 2000th goal at Le Parc des Princes.

Not even the rising waters of the Seine River could stop Paris from turning the tide of misfortune away as they returned to form against a Montpellier outfit that did not have the talent of Nabil Fekir or Memphis Depay to challenge the hosts. It was a one-sided football feast that saw the patrons witness history. Cavani scored in the 11th minute, Neymar had a brace in the 40th and 82nd minutes and Angel Di Maria continued his own resurgent form in the 70th minute of play.

Statwise, Montpellier had 10 corners to just Paris’s two and had more crosses (30 to 20) and shots (15 to 11) but the hosts maintained possession (66 percent to 34 percent), had more shots on target (seven to three) and were more successful in their passing (90 percent to 79 percent).

By dictating the flow of the game and being clinically cleaner in their direction and rotation, PSG were a one-team show this match and Di Maria’s resurgence has provided well-needed relief with Kylian Mbappe still recovering from injury. Also, this sets the stage for Lassana Diarra to potentially debut against either Stade Rennais in the Coupe de La Ligue semifinals or away to Lille OSC next weekend.

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“Being a Paris native, I always wanted to play here,” said Diarra this past week. “But it never happened. This time, everything came together to make it work. I have a lot of family here in Paris and I really wanted this move. I met with the directors who made me feel very welcome and they explained the project to me and I was quickly convinced.

“Paris are a club that is constantly progressing. This season, more great players have arrived. We all know how ambitious this club is and to reach those goals you need great players. Paris are one of the contenders for the Champions League, but we also know that you have to win every match out on the pitch and that’s where you have to make the difference. I will try and bring my experience to the table to help Paris achieve its goals.”

With the win, Paris Saint-Germain improve to 19-2-2 (59 points) through 23 matches and are on pace to win the league by April. At the very worst, they will remain eight points ahead of Lyon, who face Girondins de Bordeaux, now under the direction of Gus Poyet after Jocelyn Gourvennec was sacked as manager earlier this month. PSG’s next opponent in the Coupe de France is FC Sochaux-Montbeliard away in the Round of 16. Alves will remain suspended for the Coupe de La Ligue match against Rennes after being sent off at the Groupama Stadium last weekend.

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Jo-Ryan Salazar is a writer for The Stoppage Time, a soccer blog powered by Azteca Soccer. A supporter of the Los Angeles Galaxy since 1996 and a committed supporter since 2002, Jo-Ryan also follows Chelsea FC, Melbourne Victory, FC Tokyo and Paris Saint-Germain. Apart from soccer, Jo-Ryan is an administrative assistant for a local nonprofit in Long Beach, California and also does photography, photo-editing and fictional writing.

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