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Week 21 review: Paris dazzle as Monaco slide continues

Ligue 1 Conforama > News
18/01/2018

Neymar sparkled with four goals and two assists as PSG notched a record 8-0 home win over Dijon, looking more than ever favourites to reclaim their league title from Monaco, who slipped to fourth with a draw at home to Nice.

Paris Saint-Germain could only manage a 1-0 win away to Nantes at the weekend, but with Brazilian superstar Neymar back from a rib injury and in stunning form, the capital club dazzled and scored their biggest-ever home win in France's top flight, 8-0 over Dijon.

Neymar hits top gear

Angel Di Maria bagged the first two before teeing Edinson Cavani up to nod home and equal Zlatan Ibrahimovic's all-time club scoring record of 156 goals, but then Neymar took over with a stunning display that included a superb free-kick and an unstoppable solo run and strike from near the half-way line.  

"The team played consistently for the whole 90 minutes, kept looking to score goals. It was a complete performance so we can be happy with that," said coach Unai Emery, opting not to focus on Neymar, who was whistled at by the PSG fans for taking the penalty earned by Cavani that would have seen the Uruguayan break Ibrahimovic's record, as a top-of-the-table clash with Lyon looms on Sunday.

"We talk a lot about maintaining this level. We are going to keep looking for the best performance possible going into the coming matches and against Real Madrid. We need to use every game to grow and be stronger for when the most important match of the season comes around."

Jardim: 'Not enough'

The dominant performance saw PSG maintain their 11-point lead atop the standings, while reigning champions Monaco slipped two points behind second-placed Lyon with a 2-2 draw at home to Nice - although they could have come out of the match empty-handed had talismanic captain Radamel not bagged his 16th of the season to rescue a point at the death.

"All the players have to be congratulated. We reacted and scored at the end of the game. It's a fair draw, but it's not enough for me. It's still an important point. The fight for second place will go all the way to May," said Monaco boss Leonardo Jardim, while opposite number Lucien Favre lamented that Mario Balotelli's double wasn't enough to take all three points. "Conceding a completely avoidable goal in the last minute, it’s a lesson to learn. It hurts because we deserved the victory based on our second-half performance."

OL on song as crunch clash looms

Meanwhile Lyon took full advantage of Monaco's Tuesday-night slip-up as they got the better of in-form EA Guingamp 2-0 away thanks to home-grown stars Nabil Fekir and Houssem Aouar, who struck to give OL a fifth win in an unbeaten run of six league outings heading into Sunday's gala clash with PSG at the Groupama Stadium.

"It was an accomplished performance and I saw what I like to see from my team: good football, lots of movement, seriousness, and respect for our tactical set-up," said Lyon boss Bruno Genesio. "It was a great evening, although I think we could and should have won by a bigger margin."

Patient OM go third

The accomplished result saw Lyon claim second, with Olympique de Marseille a point behind in third after their comfortable 2-0 home win over Strasbourg, their third in a row in the league. Goals from Clinton Njie and Dimitri Payet may have come late, but coach Rudi Garcia was staying positive.

"It's one of the strengths of the squad to never give up. You don't just stumble onto that, you have to work on it," explained the former LOSC and AS Roma boss, who has turned things around at the club after a difficult couple of seasons. "We knew it would be a difficult game, that Strasbourg would come to defend well and play on the counter-attack. Once again, we were patient and were able to make the breakthrough towards the end. It's good, it's three more points."

Lower-table log jam

Fifth-placed Nantes were looking to get back to winning ways in Toulouse after a tight defeat to PSG last weekend, but Claudio Ranieri's men were denied as a Max-Alain Gradel penalty deep into stoppage time cancelled out Slovenian midfielder Rene Khrin's opener.

Similarly, Montpellier were denied victory in Amiens as Moussa Konaté struck late to clinch a 1-1 and keep his 15th-placed side clear of the drop zone, while Angers managed to go level on points with the promoted side with a 3-1 domination of ESTAC Troyes.

LOSC, also on 22 points, saw their three-match unbeaten run in all competitions under new boss Christophe Galtier cut short with a 2-1 defeat at home to Rennes, who move back into ninth place.

Sainté, Bordeaux still struggling

Bottom side FC Metz claimed an extremely welcome 3-0 win over Saint-Etienne, who had been building some momentum since Jean-Louis Gasset took the reins just before Christmas, while Bordeaux had cold water thrown on their hopes of a revival as they were beaten 2-0 at home by SM Caen.

>> VIDEO: Official match highlights of all the Week 21 action

>> Week 21 reactions

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