Ibra treble lifts PSG to the top

2015-03-21 14:09
Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Supplied)
Zlatan Ibrahimovic (Supplied)

Paris - Zlatan Ibrahimovic put his recent disciplinary problems behind him by bagging a hat-trick to give Paris Saint-Germain a 3-1 victory over Lorient on Friday night.

The big Swede was banned for one Champions League match on Thursday for his sending off against Chelsea last week, while he also faces a possible domestic ban for a foul-mouthed outburst following PSG's 3-2 defeat at Bordeaux last week in which he insulted both the referee and France.

But he was the champions' hero as they went top, temporarily at least, with a hard-earned win over strugglers Lorient.

"He confirmed that he scores goals but we already knew that, he'll score a lot more for PSG," said coach Laurent Blanc of his match-winner.

In truth, the game should have resembled a rugby score before Jordan Ayew equalised for the visitors at the Parc des Princes midway through the second half, but Ibrahimovic came to PSG's rescue with two goals in the final eight minutes.

"I'm satisfied with the three points. We didn't play that badly but unfortunately, as usual, we weren't very effective in front of goal," moaned Blanc.

"Normally, after 25 minutes, the match should have been over."

PSG went into the break just a goal to the good but it could have been so much more as they carved open a hopelessly flawed offside trap.

Time and again, PSG's forwards got in behind the Lorient backline and only some poor finishing, notably from Ezequiel Lavezzi, spared the visitors' blushes.

Inside two minutes Edinson Cavani had sprung the trap but his first time left-footed volley lacked power and goalkeeper Benjamin Lecomte got down quickly to save.

Just a minute later, Ibrahimovic was in behind the defence, only to be clattered by a reckless challenge from Lecomte.

Lecomte was booked and Ibrahimovic dispatched the penalty low to the goalkeeper's right, although straight afterwards he limped off to receive treatment on his ankle, which twisted badly under Lecomte's challenge.

Lavezzi was the next to beat the offside trap from Javier Pastore's dinked through ball but the forward's shot hit Lecomte's leg.

Ibrahimovic had rejoined the fray by now and he was left waving his arms in frustration after right-back Gregory Van Der Wiel escaped into acres of space down the right, only for his cross to be cut out by Lamine Kone with Ibrahimovic and Cavani queueing up at the back post for an easy finish.

Pastore's vision opened up Lorient again on 24 minutes but from a tight angle, Ibrahimovic's shot was parried behind by Lecomte.

The Swedish star then put Lavezzi clean through again with a sublime back-flick, but the former Napoli forward wastefully sliced his shot into the side-netting on the half hour.

- profligacy -

Cavani tried to catch out Lecomte at the start of the second half but his speculative lob from 40 yards dipped just over.

Lavezzi then failed to turn in a driven cross from Maxwell at the near post as his profligacy continued.

Cavani bent a free-kick just wide as PSG continued to toil in their attempts to kill the game.

And they paid for those misses as halfway through the second period, out of nothing, Ayew rifled a shot into the bottom corner from 20 yards.

And four minutes later Ayew was left unmarked at a corner to fire in a volley that had goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu beaten, only for his Italian compatriot Marco Verratti to head off the line.

Chances were coming thick and fast as Lecomte tipped a Pastore volley around the post before blocking Ibrahimovic's close range backheel with his chest.

PSG were given a lifeline, though, as Kone dived in on Pastore in the box.

The contact seemed minimal but it was reckless in the extreme and the referee pointed to the spot for a second time, Ibrahimovic sending Lecomte the wrong way this time.

Lecomte still had time to make a reaction save to deny substitute Adrien Rabiot before Ibrahimovic sealed the win in injury time following a defensive mistake.


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