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Ligue 1

  • April 18, 2015
  • • 11:00 AM
  • • Allianz Riviera, Nice
  • Referee: S. Desiage
  • • Attendance: 25145
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PSG forward Javier Pastore celebrates a goal

Nice 1-3 Paris Saint-Germain: Pastore double sends champion back to top

PSG forward Javier Pastore celebrates a goal

AFP

Despite missing some star names, Paris Saint-Germain produced a strong performance to see off Nice and go back to the top of Ligue 1.

Javier Pastore filled the scoring void left by the suspended Zlatan Ibrahimovic with a brace as Paris Saint-Germain went back to the top of Ligue 1 with a 3-1 win at Nice.

Having seen its UEFA Champions League dreams effectively dashed by a 3-1 quarterfinal first-leg defeat to Barcelona in midweek, PSG turned its attention back to an enthralling battle for the domestic title with seven-time champion Lyon on Saturday.

And, despite the absence of Ibrahimovic - banned for three games for a foul-mouthed rant following last month's 3-2 loss at Bordeaux - and injured captain Thiago Silva, PSG did enough to see off a determined Nice side at the Allianz Riviera.

The defending champion took the lead thanks to an assured 39th-minute finish from Pastore, only for former PSG man Mathieu Bodmer to equalize just before the interval.

Laurent Blanc's men found another gear in the second half, though, and Pastore duly restored PSG's advantage with a powerful finish into the bottom-right corner.

A 69th-minute penalty from Edinson Cavani made sure of the points after the Uruguay striker had been fouled by Jordan Amavi, securing a victory that sends PSG a point clear of Lyon - which hosts Saint-Etienne on Sunday.

Nice started brightly and went close to opening the scoring in the 15th minute when Algerian forward Said Benrahma curled narrowly wide of the left-hand post.

PSG, also without the presence of the banned Marco Verratti, struggled to get into any sort of rhythm in the opening 45 minutes, which Nice largely controlled without creating much in the way of goal-scoring opportunities.

The home side's failure to take advantage of its period of superiority was punished by Pastore six minutes before the break. The Argentina international latched on to Lucas Moura's pass and coolly slotted the ball beyond Simon Pouplin.

But Nice responded well and equalized on the stroke of halftime, as Bodmer flicked home Benrahma's low drive after PSG had only half cleared a left-wing free kick.

Pouplin was forced to show brilliant reactions to preserve parity three minutes minutes after the interval, as the goalkeeper turned David Luiz's close-range strike over the crossbar following Nice's failure to deal with a corner.

Salvatore Sirigu then demonstrated his reflexes at the other end, as the Italy international dived to his left to tip Carlos Eduardo's header against the right-hand post.

Yet it was Pouplin whose goal came under more sustained pressure in the second half. The former Rennes man did well to cut out Lucas Digne's cross before seeing Luiz clatter the underside of the crossbar with a header.

Pouplin's goal was finally breached for a second time in the 63rd minute, though, Pastore lashing a shot in on the rebound after his initial volley had been blocked by the Nice shot-stopper.

Just six minutes later, the game was put beyond Nice as Amavi tripped Cavani in the box, allowing the former Napoli man to emphatically fire home from 12 yards.

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