PSG sound the charge with Sochaux romp
By S. Willis
Inspired by a dazzling performance from Nene, PSG got back to winning ways in emphatic fashion with a 6-1 win over relegation-threatened Sochaux, leaving Montpellier in no doubt that the title race is far from over.
Paris Saint-Germain 6 - 1 FC Sochaux-Montbéliard
The pressure was on PSG following Montpellier's win on Saturday night, and Carlo Ancelotti's men stepped up to the plate in magnificent fashion, the capital club's big names firing in their best performance - and biggest win - of the season that came despite the absence of a recognised striker in the starting line-up.
Nene was in scintillating form as PSG shook their recent dip in form - just one win in their last five Ligue 1 outings - out of their hair, the Brazilian winger bagging a quick-fire double (55', 60') as well as setting up goals for the resurgent Javier Pastore (6') and Thiago Motta (25') as the hosts created chances at will against a shell-shocked Sochaux.
Les Lionceaux, who sit in 19th place and face the very real prospect of Ligue 2 football next season, managed to mix it early on and responded well to Pastore's well taken opener. France midfielder Marvin Martin provided a visionary pass over the PSG defence for in-form striker Modibo Maïga to nod home (12') his fifth in as many games.
However, Eric Hély's men's defensive frailties came to the fore from a Nene corner, with the unmarked Thiago Motta heading an angled shot past Teddy Richert to make it 2-1 and Jérémy Ménez followed suit from a delightful Siaka Tiéné cross on 44 minutes to send Calro Ancelotti's men into the break 3-1.
If Sochaux had any hopes of clawing their way back into the game in the second half, they were soon snuffed out as Nene ghosted in at the far post to sidefoot his volley home with deceptive ease before jinking through the Sochaux backline and rounding Richert to tap home five minutes later.
At 5-1 the fight had gone out of Sochaux but PSG weren't done, veteran defender Sylvain Armand gratefully accepting a neat through pass from Pastore to fire a striker's finish low across Richert to round out the scoring (90'+2) with his first of the season.
Sounding the charge
Over and above the massive scoreline and the three points that take the capital club back to within two points of the lead, title rivals Montpellier will doubtless have taken note of the style, confidence and team spirit with which Ancelotti's men took Sochaux apart.
Irresistible going forward and tight at the back, PSG fired a shot across Montpellier's bow on Sunday afternoon, announcing that the south-coast side will need to stay on their toes as the season reaches its climax. For Sochaux, on the other hand, the signs are worrying as they remain mired in the relegation zone (19th), although now with an inflated negative goal difference to make things that much tougher.