Pastore brilliant as PSG brush aside Montpellier
Paris Saint-Germain were ominously impressive against Montpellier, Javier Pastore scoring twice and Kévin Gameiro once in a 3-0 win at the Stade de la Mosson.
The game of the weekend in Ligue 1 brought together the league leaders, who were looking to defend a perfect home record, and a PSG side unbeaten since the opening day of the campaign but still to hit top gear after their summer rebuilding.
The capital club may have needed two penalties to beat Nice in midweek, but they started superbly well in the south of France, with Pastore supplying Jérémy Ménez for a shot inside the opening two minutes that Geoffrey Jourdren was forced to turn behind.
Moments later, Salvatore Sirigu produced a double save to deny John Utaka and Olivier Giroud at the other end, as Montpellier threatened for the first time.
There was relief for the hosts when Jourdren watched a Nenê effort narrowly miss his top right-hand corner, and Gameiro also came close, but Paris were not to be denied for too much longer. Six minutes of the first-half remained when Blaise Matuidi robbed Garry Bocaly of possession and gave the ball straight to Pastore. The Argentine found Nenê, and his cross was turned home expertly by Gameiro for his fifth league goal of the campaign.
Before Montpellier could react, PSG had doubled their lead in sensational fashion. A long ball forward from Siaka Tiéné wide on the left was volleyed home first-time on the edge of the box by Pastore. Jourdren had no chance as the former Palermo man again showed just why Leonardo was so prepared to make him the most expensive player in French football history.
A stunned home side might have reduced the deficit after the break, but Sirigu saved another Giroud header, before Matuidi forced a save from Jourdren at the other end with a shot from distance.
With the clock running down, PSG coach Antoine Kombouaré sent on former Juventus midfielder Mohamed Sissoko for his debut in place of Mathieu Bodmer. A first win in six meetings with Montpellier in all competitions appeared all but secure, and there was no doubt when Pastore scored his second of the night from a tight angle after Jourdren had inexplicably allowed the ball to bounce over his head.
The result allows the men from the capital to leapfrog Montpellier and join Lyon and Toulouse on 17 points at the top of the table. Rennes will make it a four-way tie at the summit if they can beat Saint-Etienne on Sunday, but minds in Paris will now be turning to what should be a mouth-watering clash with Lyon at the Parc des Princes next weekend.