Cavani marks return with goal

2015-01-19 09:50
Edinson Cavani (AFP)

Paris - Edinson Cavani redeemed himself after being dropped for three matches by scoring in Paris Saint Germain's hard fought 4-2 Ligue 1 victory over Evian on Sunday.

The 27-year-old Uruguayan star - who along with Ezequiel Lavezzi had been suspended after they returned late from Christmas holidays - notched his eighth goal of the campaign as PSG moved into third, four points adrift of leaders Lyon on 45, who beat Lens 2-0 on Saturday.

Marseille kept the pressure on Lyon by closing to within a point of top spot in the late match, which exploded into life with three goals and a red card in the last five minutes as they beat Guingamp 2-1.

Champions PSG's overall performance against a team in the relegation zone caused coach Laurent Blanc some concern.

"I had the impression that we were waiting for us to be hurt before reacting," said Blanc.

"We're happy we won and the three points are primordial.

"However, there are things from the performance to be analysed and resolved.

"It is not in the team's philosophy to be reacting but rather it is to be creating and be proactive," added the 49-year-old former France coach.

The hosts went behind in the 14th minute as Zlatan Ibrahimovic's careless header dropped to an Evian player who fed Cedric Barbosa to fire home.

David Luiz finally broke through for the hosts as he got on the end of a corner to level the match before setting off on one of his trademark celebratory runs.

PSG smiles were even wider as shortly before half-time Italian midfielder Marco Verratti prodded home for his first league goal for the club.

The hosts were unable to put the game to bed during the second-half, though, and it was Evian who equalised as Gregory van der Wiel's poor decision not to leave the ball, from a harmless freekick, and instead head it back to goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu proved disastrous.

Sirigu was unable to gather the ball properly after saving it with one hand and the ball trickled over the line.

Back came the boos and the time came for Blanc to send on Cavani - whether it was his physical presence that prompted it or not, PSG almost immediately restored their one goal advantage through Javier Pastore.

Pastore started and finished the move, playing the ball to Ibrahimovic, who found Lucas Moura out on the right and the Brazilian's low cross was superbly tucked away by the Argentinian.

The match was finally safe when Cavani - who had started the move - pounced to tap in Ibrahimovic's pass and put himself not only level with the Swede as the club's joint top scorer with eight league goals, but also back in the good books of both fans and coach.

With the game edging toward a 0-0 draw at the Stade Velodrome and Marseille pressing relentlessly, with Argentine coach Marcelo Bielsa screaming from the sidelines, substitute Mario Lemina bagged the opener for OM after a goalmouth scramble in the 84th minute.

Then a powerful header from star striker Pierre-Andre Gignac five minutes later seemed to have put the game beyond Guingamp's reach, only for Rod Fanni to get a straight red card and give up a penalty for a foul on Claudio Beavue.

The striker sent Marseille keeper Steve Mandanda the wrong way with the game two minutes into time added on, but a sigh of relief went round the stadium when the referee blew for time soon after.

"The win was deserved, even though we didn't play very well," said Bielsa.

"There were too many unexpected problems that prevented us from having the necessary consistency."

Saint Etienne missed the chance to go back ahead of PSG during the afternoon when they fought out a dire 0-0 deadlock at Brittany outfit Rennes.

In lashing, cold rain the two sides mustered a mere two shots on target all night.

Read more on:    psg  |  ligue 1  |  edinson cavani  |  soccer

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