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Cavani at double as PSG beat Rennes

Publish on 27/01/2019 at 00:00 - S. WILLIS

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After being troubled for the first half, champions Paris Saint-Germain scored three rapid-fire second-half goals as they beat Rennes 4-1 at the Parc des Princes.

Logo Paris Saint-Germain Paris Saint-Germain 4-1 Stade Rennais FC

THE MATCH

Even without the injured Neymar, PSG swept to their 11th home win from as many league outings this season. Rennes were the last side to win in Paris in Ligue 1 Conforama on the final day of last season and the visitors looked capable of repeating that feat when they turned around deservedly level. But as PSG improved and Rennes faded, the runaway league leaders took the game away from Rennes.

Edinson Cavani got the ball rolling for PSG when - unmarked - he headed in an Angel Di Maria cross (8'). Di Maria had been the beneficiary of a defence-splitting Presnel Kimpembe pass as he got in behind the defence. Kylian Mbappé (11') raced onto a Dani Alves ball over the top that was misjudged by Tomas Koubek. With the Czech goalkeeper stranded, Mbappé's shot was blocked by Jérémy Gélin.

Julian Draxler (18') spurned a good opportunity before Rennes resurfaced as an attacking threat. Former PSG man Hatem Ben Arfa (20') dragged a shot wide and then the visitors equalised (28'). After a lovely pass from Benjamin Bourigeaud, Hamari Traoré burned past Juan Bernat before crossing low from the right. The ball hit Thiago Silva and Mbaye Niang  produced an instinctive finish for 1-1. Niang was cautioned before the break for a bad foul on Thilo Kehrer.

PSG were well on top in the second half even before their flurry of goals. Koubek made a double save from Draxler and Mbappé (58') and then the hosts went in front on the hour. Thiago Silva's pass picked out the onside Di Maria who advanced under no pressure before lifting the ball over Koubek.

Mbappé netted his 18th league goal of the season (66') when Clément Grenier was caught in possession on the edge of his area. Draxler slipped it to Mbappé for an assured finish. Cavani (71') then rolled the ball into the empty net, set up by Mbappé after a lightning home counter.

THE PLAYER: Edinson Cavani

With Neymar out with a metatarsal injury, PSG supporters would have been delighted to see Mbappé and Cavani combine for the final home goal. Cavani might well have been able to score his third league hat-trick of the season had he not been substituted. As it was the Uruguayan had to content himself with a brace, moving him onto 16 goals for the league season, second in the chart only to Mbappé.

THE STAT: 56

With 18 wins and two draws, Paris Saint-Germain have claimed 56 points, the highest total recorded by any French club at this stage of the season.