PARIS (AFP) –
Paris Saint-Germain geared up for a testing week with a comfortable 2-0 win at home to Sochaux on Saturday that propelled them to second place in the Ligue 1 table.
Kevin Gameiro’s first-half brace at Parc des Princes gave PSG their fifth consecutive win in all competitions, ahead of Wednesday’s visit to Porto in the Champions League and next weekend’s trip to league leaders Marseille.
PSG are now three points behind leaders Marseille, but OM can re-establish a six-point advantage over their arch rivals if they continue their 100 percent start to the season at mid-table Valenciennes on Sunday.
“It was a good victory, a good match, particularly in the first half, when we played with more intensity,” said PSG coach Carlo Ancelotti.
“In the second half we were too conservative and the rhythm was too slow. We needed more rhythm. Perhaps some of them were thinking about the next matches. It’s not right, but maybe that was it.”
Ancelotti made six changes to the team that won 4-0 at Bastia last weekend, with Gameiro partnering Zlatan Ibrahimovic in attack and Mohamed Sissoko handed his first start of the season in midfield.
Ibrahimovic’s arrival has seen Gameiro fall out of favour but the former Lorient striker found the target after only 11 minutes against Sochaux, running onto Javier Pastore’s lofted pass and slipping the ball past goalkeeper Simon Pouplin.
Sochaux saw Thierry Doubai head wide from a right-wing free-kick before Gameiro doubled the hosts’ advantage in the 33rd minute, sliding in to convert a delightful low cross from Maxwell after Ibrahimovic freed the Brazilian on the left.
Gregory van der Wiel made his home debut as a second-half substitute for Sissoko and the Dutch international right-back almost combined with Ibrahimovic to craft a third goal for Gameiro, only for the France striker to miscue his overhead kick.
Fourth-place Lorient preserved their unbeaten record by drawing 1-1 at Evian through an 85th-minute equaliser from former Arsenal player Gilles Sunu, while Toulouse climbed to fifth with a 2-0 success at basement club Troyes.
Second-half goals from Younes Belhanda and Souleymane Camara saw Montpellier win 2-0 at second-bottom Nancy, the defending champions recording only their second win of the campaign to move up to 12th place.
Belhanda scored from the edge of the box in the 65th minute after being teed up by Karim Ait-Fana and Camara sealed victory with a vicious strike from 25 yards in the final minute.
“Since the start of the season, we’ve only been playing well for parts of matches, but tonight we fulfilled our mission: playing a full 90 minutes,” Belhanda told beIN Sport television channel.
“We need to try to keep that technical quality. Even though we conceded a few chances, we managed to score two without letting any in. It augurs well for the future.”
Elsewhere, promoted Bastia twice hit back to draw 2-2 at Nice — almost snatching the points when Anthony Modeste shook the crossbar with a late free-kick — and Ajaccio won 1-0 at home to Brest.
Lille’s woes continued on Friday night as the 2011 champions went down 2-0 at Rennes.
Rudi Garcia’s side, who visit Valencia in the Champions League on Tuesday, have now gone five games without a win in all competitions and are already 11 points off the pace in Ligue 1.Published 29 Sep 2012, 23:21 IST