Ibra, Thiago Motta deliver PSG
By S. Willis
League leaders Paris Saint-Germain were under pressure from a Lorient side intent on suffocating their play, but an inspirational sequence from Zlatan Ibrahimovic, followed by Thiago Motta's finish, clinched a 1-0 win.
FC Lorient 0 - 1 Paris Saint-Germain
Lorient had a goal ruled out with minutes left to go as youngster Bryan Pelé was adjudged off-side (87') and the sense of disappointment in the Stade du Moustoir was palpable as Christian Gourcuff's side said goodbye to all three points despite having pushed the league leaders to the limit.
Brought to you by Zlatan
However, there was no arguing with the beauty, nor the quality, of PSG's lone goal scored by Thiago Motta but brought to you by Zlatan. The giant Swede's confidence and versatility were on show as he began the move in his own half, work a flashy one-two with Christophe Jallet before cutting inside and passing two men before spreading it wide for Edinson Cavani.
The Uruguayan striker cut into the area and squared the ball to the near post, where Zlatan showed quick feet to pluck the ball out of the ruckus with his left and then shoot first time with the inside of his right. Fabien Audard managed a reflex save but when the ball spilled to Thiago Motta, the Lorient 'keeper was helpless to stop the Italian international from poking the ball home for his third of the season (41').
A real blow for Lorient, whose canny pressing game and facility on their synthetic pitch had seen them stymie their illustrious visitors - who lost captain Thiago Silva to a face injury sustained in a challenge with Vincent Aboubakar (29') - for the first half-hour of the match.
Lorient didn't try overly to dispossess the Parisians, but looked to pressure them to the point of their making mistakes, but when this eventually did happen, Gourcuff's men unfortunately lacked the cutting edge up front to make it count. Salvatore Sirigu snaffled up early efforts from Alain Traoré (13') and Yann Jouffre (15') before Jérémie Aliadière's poor touch on the edge of the area and sent a good scoring chance begging just after PSG's opener (43').
Audard steps up
Until Pelé's ruled-out goal, that would be about it from Lorient going forward, but Audard still had work to do as Paris pushed forward, the Lorient 'keeper producing a stunning reflex save - somehow involving a foot and a trailing arm - to deny Christophe Jallet's powerful shot after some fine work from substitute Yohan Cabaye and Cavani on the left (75').
Lorient may have played out of their skin, but no matter the narrowness of the margin, Paris Saint-Germain still accomplished their mission: put Monaco at a provisional 11-point distance by bagging a 22nd win of the league season - their eighth in a row in all competitions. Lorient, meanwhile, remain just eight provisional points ahead of 18th-placed Valenciennes and will be looking to take the positives from an excellent performance against Paris into their upcoming Week 31 clash in Reims.