Champions League

Cavani grabs brace as PSG coast in Bulgaria

2016-09-29 07:08
Edinson Cavani (Getty)

Razgrad - Paris Saint-Germain recovered from a slow start to canter to a 3-1 win at Ludogorets Razgrad in the Champions League on Wednesday night and keep pace with Arsenal at the top of Group A.

Edinson Cavani scored a brace after Blaise Matuidi had cancelled out Natanael Pimienta's surprise opener for the Bulgarians.

But the French champions, who drew at home to Arsenal in their opening group encounter, dominated the second half and could easily have inflicted a much heavier defeat on the Bulgarian minnows, who are playing in the Champions League group stage for only the second time.

PSG could have been off to a dream start but Cavani's snap shot from just outside the area curled agonisingly beyond the corner of post and bar.

Ludogorets wasted a three-on-one counter-attack but nonetheless took the lead on the quarter hour as Natanael curled home a free-kick from a tight angle.

Alphonse Areola in the PSG goal was unsighted as his wall in front of him disintegrated, with Cavani the chief culprit.

PSG were struggling to create anything, although Lucas dragged a shot wide from distance.

But five minutes before the break, inspirational midfielder Marco Verratti managed to unlock the Bulgarians' defence, threading the ball through for Matuidi - who had just about stayed onside - to stroke home the equaliser.

Cavani was having a typically industrious and wayward night and started the second half by screwing a shot well beyond the upright.

Moments later, Angel Di Maria spun on a sixpence on the edge of the box but fired just past the woodwork before then aiming a tame effort straight at goalkeeper Vladislav Stoyanov.

PSG were ratcheting up the pressure with chances aplenty testing the Ludogorets back line, but Di Maria proved wasteful again with a cross-cum-shot that neither troubled Stoyanov nor gave Cavani a chance to convert at the back post.

Yet those two did combine to give PSG the lead on 56 minutes with Cavani flicking home Di Maria's free-kick with his head.

Almost immediately, though, the Parisians gave away a penalty as Thiago Motta bizarrely threw himself in kamikaze NFL-style blocking fashion across Marcelinho to deny the Brazilian-born player a clear goal-scoring chance.

Areola made amends by saving Cosmin Moti's spot-kick.

And PSG went straight up the other end where the livewire Cavani got across a ponderous Moti to convert Lucas's cross.

Cavani and Matuidi squandered good chances before Stoyanov made a sprawling save to beat out a Di Maria free-kick, but by then the match was long over as a contest.

Read more on:    psg  |  champions league  |  edinson cavani  |  soccer
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