Sunday, October 24, 2021

Cavani, Di Maria fire PSG past Bordeaux as Barca loom

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Paris Saint-Germain’s Uruguayan forward Edinson Cavani celebrates after scoring a goal during the French Ligue 1 football match between Bordeaux (FCGB) and Paris (PSG) on February 10, 2017 at the Matmut Atlantique stadium in Bordeaux, southwestern France. / AFP PHOTO / NICOLAS TUCAT

Edinson Cavani and Angel Di Maria stole the show in Paris Saint Germain’s 3-0 win at Bordeaux on Friday in an ideal warm-up for next week’s Champions League clash with Barcelona.

PSG joined Monaco, who face Metz on Saturday, on 55 points at the top of Ligue 1 but remain second on goal difference.

Marco Verratti was back for PSG after sitting out their last four games with a calf injury. He joined his fellow Italian Thiago Motta – suspended for the Barcelona game – and Adrien Rabiot in midfield.

PSG coach Unai Emery also welcomed back first choice keeper Kevin Trapp with the German enjoying a generally hassle free return to work.

Thiago Silva was given the night off to freshen up for the Valentine’s Day Champions League last 16 first leg date with Barcelona at the Parc des Princes on Tuesday.

The captain’s shoes in central defence against the side PSG had knocked out of the French Cup quarter-finals were filled by Presnel Kimpembe.

“It was important to win because there’s another goal to achieve,” said Trapp.

“We have put a little more pressure on the other teams. It was a clean match and good preparation for Tuesday.”

As in that 4-1 defeat last month that propelled PSG into a fourth straight Cup final it was Cavani and Di Maria who starred.

Cavani’s neatly executed one-touch volley put PSG into a sixth minute lead after Vokasin Jovanovic’s failed attempt to head Marquinhos’ cross from the right out of danger.

Unfortunately for the Bordeaux defender Cavani was on hand to work his magic and take his Ligue 1 haul to a personal best ever 24 goals from only 25 games.

With PSG bossing the encounter Di Maria deservedly doubled their advantage as half-time approached.

His cheeky chip over Bordeaux keeper Cedric Carrasso came after a neat link-up from Lucas and Verratti with the Italian midfielder delivering the assist to Di Maria.

The sound of the referee’s whistle for the restart had barely disappeared when Cavani picked up a cross from the left from Di Maria to strike the ball with his first touch past Carrasso.

That took the red-hot Uruguayan’s scoring percentage to one goal a game.

With his encouraging return ahead of the Champions League clash Verratti came off after an hour with Di Maria quickly following.

Emery introduced Hatem Ben Arfa for Cavani for the closing 20 minutes.

PSG headed back to the French capital after a good evening’s work but aware that a far stiffer test awaits them in 96 hours’ time.

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