Cavani: 100 not out
By D. Crossan
Montpellier are next in the firing line for Edinson Cavani, who brought up his Paris Saint-Germain century of goals in midweek. PSG travel to the 2012 champions on Saturday afternoon.
Cavani's penalty in the 2-0 win over Angers on Wednesday saw him become only the fourth player in PSG history to reach 100 goals for the club, joining Dominique Rocheteau on 100. Only Pedro Miguel Pauleta (109) and Zlatan Ibrahimovic (156) are above the Uruguayan forward on the list. Under contract until 2018, Cavani could yet become the record scorer in PSG history.
Cavani: "I'm thinking about the team"
Asked about Ibrahimovic's record, Cavani said: "I'm thinking about the team and thinking about myself. I think about PSG and doing the best for the club. The rest belongs to the future. The most important thing is that we win together and lift trophies. A striker lives for goals and, for me, scoring is everything."
Cavani, already the scorer of 19 goals in all competitions this season, needed 166 games to reach 100 goals. Given this is the first season he has played in his preferred centre-forward's role, the statistics are impressive and he's well on course to smash his Paris personal best of 31 goals from the 2014-2015 season. His most prolific campaign overall saw him plunder 38 goals in 43 matches in his final Napoli season in 2012-2013, when he finished as top scorer in Serie A with 29.
PSG coach Unai Emery has set Cavani a challenge: "I expect him to put in the best season of his career," said the Spaniard. "I want that from him, and it's the same thing for the other players. If Cavani has his best season then that will be good for the team. I want players to progress. He works hard to do his best for the team and for himself."
Cavani was presented with a trophy to mark his achievement by PSG Director of Football Patrick Kluivert, a man who knows a thing or two about scoring goals. In the run-up to the Angers match, Kluivert said: "Will we try and find a back-up for him? Yes, because all top clubs need two scorers."
57 of Cavani's PSG goals have been scored with his right foot, 23 with his left, 19 with his head and one with another body part. 11 of his 100 goals have been penalties and only five of his haul have come from outside the area, emphasising how much Cavani is a penalty-box predator.
A draw for PSG would be enough to take them top of the table, for a few hours at least, as third-placed Monaco play later on Saturday and leaders Nice are not in action until the final game of the weekend.
Montpellier fell 1-0 at Toulouse on Wednesday and are still winless on the road this season. Frédéric Hantz was far from happy: "It's always the same story with this squad when they feel comfortable," said the Montpellier coach. "My team reacts to events and has trouble concentrating for a whole match. It's a symptom that has lasted for months and its shows that we're not competitors in our souls. We need to rediscover our humility very quickly."
Montpellier captain Vitorino Hilton made his 200th appearance for the club on Wednesday – an emotional night for him as football remembered the victims of the Chapecoense air crash tragedy. Hilton began his career at the club.
Hilton said: "There was a minute to think about this horrible tragedy that hit the entire Chapecoense team. All the images came back to me because my history is linked to the club. I owe that club everything and it was there that I started football some 20 years ago at the age of 17. U succeeded there and it's thanks to them that I grew as a man and as a player. It was in Chapeco that I met my wife. I consider the town and the club to be like a family member."
Montpellier: Pionnier; Rémy, Hilton, Congré, Deplagne; Lasne, Skhiri; Camara, Boudebouz, Sanson; Mounié.
PSG: Areola; Aurier, Marquinhos, Kimpembe, Kurzawa; Krychowiak, Matuidi; Di Maria, Ben Arfa, Lucas; Cavani