Paris - Angel Di Maria's first goal of the season set Paris
Saint-Germain on their way to a 3-0 Champions League victory against an unlucky
Basel side at the Parc des Princes on Wednesday.
Di Maria grabbed the opener late in the first half and Lucas
doubled PSG's lead just after the hour mark before Edinson Cavani's late
penalty sealed the victory as the French giants moved closer to qualifying for
the last 16 from Group A.
They remain level on seven points at the top of the group
with Arsenal, who crushed Ludogorets 6-0 in London, with Basel and the
Bulgarians both six points behind.
A draw when they play Basel away in their next outing will
likely secure their progress to the next round, and yet the outcome of this
game could have been very different, with the Swiss side hitting the woodwork
"Fortunately we had luck and Alphonse (Areola) on our
side, and good posts as well," midfielder Adrien Rabiot told Canal Plus
after the game.
"You need luck in these matches. But we controlled the
game too and the main thing is that we won."
The home side were without the injured Thiago Motta, and
while the elegant Rabiot started in his place, they missed his ability to
dictate the tempo of a game and keep possession.
Indeed, a side that had appeared so accomplished in previous
seasons under Laurent Blanc again looked a shadow of their former selves for
much of this game.
Paris have not yet convinced under Unai Emery and they could
not afford to underestimate a Basel outfit utterly dominant in their domestic
league and who have pulled off some impressive results in Europe.
The visitors were the better team in the first half but
missed several chances, first when Birkir Bjarnason kept alive a corner at the
back post and Michael Lang headed against the bar.
Ivory Coast striker Seydou Doumbia then outmuscled Thiago
Silva before releasing Renato Steffen, but Alphonse Areola came out to deny the
winger before Doumbia fired over the loose ball.
Di Maria did flash a volley just past after being teed up by
Lucas on a quick breakaway but Basel hit the woodwork again in the 36th minute,
this time from a Doumbia header after a Matias Delgado cross.
Rabiot was denied by Tomas Vaclik seconds later but Paris
were poor, and yet they went in front five minutes before the interval.
Cavani tried to convert a low ball in by Blaise Matuidi but
his touch turned into an assist for Di Maria, who finished emphatically.
Cavani saw a header graze the near post on its way past as
he connected with a Di Maria free-kick at the start of the second half.
He then robbed Eder Balanta and bore down on goal but could
not beat Vaclik. Instead, it was Lucas who made it 2-0 moments later, slotting
low into the net after Basel failed to cut out a Serge Aurier centre.
It was not Basel's evening, and they hit the frame of the
goal for the third time in the 66th minute. Marek Suchy's header following a
free-kick struck an upright and then rebounded off an unwitting Areola on the
Cavani then added gloss to the scoreline by converting a
stoppage-time penalty for his 17th goal this season for club and country after
he had been fouled in the box.