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Ligue 1

Ligue 1: PSG Defeat AS Saint-Etienne, Close In On Fabinho Signing

PARIS, FRANCE - AUGUST 25: Edinson Cavani of PSG celebrates his goal with Thiago Motta during the French Ligue 1 match between Paris Saint Germain (PSG) and AS Saint-Etienne (ASSE) at Parc des Princes on August 25, 2017 in Paris, France. (Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)

Have mercy, Miss Percy. Oscar Garcia’s AS Saint-Etienne can consider themselves an extremely lucky side. They only lost 3-0 to Unai Emery’s Paris Saint-Germain at Le Parc des Princes, but it could have been by a more decisive margin had the Parisians been a bit more efficient in the attacking third. Edinson Cavani scored a brace in the 20th and 89th minutes while designated captain Thiago Motta added some 51st minute insurance, cleaning up an initial miss in the box. Golden State Warriors frontman Stephen Curry was on hand to witness proceedings.

Another reason that the Stephanois can consider themselves fortunate: they have yet to see PSG at their strongest yet. Marco Verratti was suspended due to a red card…and Fabinho is set to join Paris Saint-Germain alongside Kylian Mbappe. Yes, the playmaker that was among the few to solve PSG gets to play alongside the great Neymar Santos Jr. as the long line of proud Brazilians to don the iconic Rouge et Bleu strip increases by one.

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As a result of Monaco’s historic Ligue 1 title, Dimitry Rybolovlev’s decision to cash in has made the Monegasques richer than ever in a world-record amount collected from transfer fees in a single window. Belgian international Leander Dendoncker, formerly of Anderlecht, will be replacing him, joining former Anderlecht teammate Youri Tielemans on the AS Monaco’s list.

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“We are happy,” said Emery after the match. “Our objective was to finish [ahead of the international break] top of the table. Up against a team that had won its first three matches, we won without conceding a goal. However, we did not master things as well as we wanted to in the first half. We lost out often in the transitions. Our positioning was better in the second half. The team was better overall. We were in control and certain details made the difference. There are a lot of things to analyse and to improve. It is good.”

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Inspired by Curry’s presence, Neymar paid tribute with a no-look cross and formation-wise, PSG decided to go with a formation made famous in professional basketball by the late Tex Winter.

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“We really wanted to start the season well to give us as much confidence as possible,” said Marquinhos, whose defensive mastery and expert clearances, combined with Alphonse Areola’s Bleus-worthy stops, helped with the day for the league leaders. “It was a tough game against a team that was up there at the top with us before kick-off. It is very good to have opened up a three-point lead.”

Paris Saint-Germain have the week off due to World Cup qualification action and will be back in action on Sept. 9 away to FC Metz. By that point, a new-look PSG side could be in the offing, one stronger that that which was trotted out at Le Parc on Friday night.

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