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Ibrahimovic shines as PSG runs away in Ligue 1

Monday, March 10, 2014

PARIS - Zlatan Ibrahimovic was at his enigmatic best as champions Paris Saint-Germain continued their inexorable march towards retaining the Ligue 1 title with a 3-0 win at Bastia yesterday.

The big Swedish forward scored the opening goal and then set up Ezequiel Lavezzi for the second with an outrageous back-flick.

He also teed up the diminutive Argentine for the killer third two minutes from time with a headed flick-on.

The result briefly sent PSG 11 points clear of their only remaining potential title rivals Monaco, who then brought the gap back to eight points with a 2-1 home win over lowly Sochaux later yesterday.

This was the fifth straight win for Laurent Blanc's PSG team since a 1-1 draw at Monaco in the league in early February and the team have racked up 16 goals in that period.

"Our aim is to win matches, if that allows us to stretch out the gap we'd be delighted," said Blanc.

"There is one team hanging on, Monaco, and if they win they'll come back to eight points (behind).

"That's a lot but they're also having a good campaign. We have to take heed, everyone can go through a sticky patch."

Deprived of record-signing Edinson Cavani, held over in Uruguay for personal reasons, they even could afford the luxury of keeping centre-back Thiago Silva on the bench throughout the game ahead of Wednesday's Champions League last 16 second leg tie with Bayer Leverkusen.

Although that tie looks to be nothing more than a formality having already won the away leg 4-0.

Ibrahimovic opened the scoring on six minutes after a bright opening from the visitors in Corsica.

On 19 minutes he turned provider with the kind of genius only Ibrahimovic, in this league, is capable of, picking out Lavezzi with a back-heeled, no-look, volleyed pass.

The Argentine outpaced the defence and nonchalantly prodded the ball past goalkeeper Jean-Louis Leca.

And Lavezzi was the beneficiary once again from Ibrahimovic's instinctive vision, although centre-back Sebastien Squillaci was partly to blame for failing to cut out the Swede's flick-on, while Leca's ill-advised rush from his line also helped make the Argentine's job easier.

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