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August 31, 2014
• 3:00 PM
• Parc des Princes, Paris
Referee: C. Turpin
• Attendance: 46088
S. Ruffier 24' (own goal)
Z. Ibrahimović 41', 62', 72'
E. Cavani 63'
That's it from me, bye for now folks!
ASSE can have no complaints. Battered and bettered in every respect. They are now leapfrogged in the table by PSG, who sit second to early pace-setters Bordeaux.
PSG record their biggest-ever win in this fixture, and take a commanding win into the international break. Ibrahimovic stole the show on his return with a hat-trick as the hosts were simply too good.
90' + 1'
Diomande picks up a late yellow card for a very late barge into Lucas. That was unnecessary at this stage of the game, and he can have no complaints about getting booked.
Yellow Card Ismael Diomande
Really nothing at all happening on the pitch at the moment. Unless the referee's a huge stickler, I doubt that there will be much stoppage time tacked on to the end of this game.
Pogba, the Saint-Etienne defender, may be the only player from the visitors that can take a modicum of credit from this travesty. He's had a handful of timely interventions in the defensive end.
Cohade slashes an opportunistic shot wide of the mark in the rarest of forays forward from the visiting side. Sirigu can restart the game and get PSG back into monopolizing the ball.
Saint-Etienne just want the final whistle to go now. There's nothing left for them in this game, unless PSG decide to get ruthless and inflate this scoreline even more before the final whistle.
Bahebeck looks to make an instant impression off the bench, beating Theophile-Catherine for pace before cutting back onto his stronger right foot and testing Ruffier from the edge of the box.
That now stands as Ibrahimovic's sixth hat trick for Paris Saint-Germain in all competitions. He's grown from strength to strength since joining the Ligue 1 club, even if the standard of competition is not quite the level of that faced by some of his former clubs.
More subs to recap, as Jean-Christophe Bahebeck replaces David Luiz, joining Blaise Matuidi as the new PSG additions on the pitch. The latter will appear against his former club. Van Wolfswinkel's invisible night is ended as Diomande comes on in his stead.
Ricky van Wolfswinkel
That is the last action of this game for Ibrahimovic, who departs to a standing ovation from the adoring Parc des Princes crowd. He's proven his worth yet again tonight, energizing a PSG side that was lethargic in his absence.
Assist Marco Verratti
Goal Zlatan Ibrahimovic
HAT-TRICK FOR IBRA! For the umpteenth time, he breaks the offside trap and latches onto Verratti's through pass. He's in position, and slots the ball under the keeper to add another goal to this rout!
IBRAHIMOVIC DENIED A PENALTY! He races past the last defender and touches the ball ahead of Ruffier, who clatters him without touching the ball. He still tries to turn the ball in while lying prone, but misses. Had he left the rebound alone, it might have played on the referee's mind differently. Regardless, ASSE get away with one there.
It's now simply a matter of how many goals PSG want from this game. The three points are all but certain to be heading to the capital side tonight, and they look really in the mood!
Quickfire double for PSG now and this is turning into a rout. This is the first time this season that they've scored more than three goals in Ligue 1, a total they surpassed in 14 games last term.
Goal Edinson Cavani
CAVANI MAKES IT 4-0! He needed that! Two in two minutes for PSG now, as Maxwell tees up the Uruguayan at the top of the box, who bends it in expertly, with Ruffier rooted to the spot!
Goal Zlatan Ibrahimovic
IBRAHIMOVIC ADDS ANOTHER! Cool as you like! Monnet-Paquet coughs up the ball inside his own half, and PSG quickly work it to Ibrahimovic, who skips around Ruffier and has an empty net to poke into!
Lucas does superbly to evade two men on the right hand side, using blazing speed to get into crossing position. He squares it to Cavani, who can't get on the end of it in what has to go down as a bad miss. Ibrahimovic attacks the rebound but can't find the target.
Pastore has been delighting the PSG fans this evening with his skill on the ball. He wins another free kick, this time against Tabanou, but PSG can't threaten any further from that play.
Gradel replaces Erding, and is involved straight away as he nips the ball off Verratti and squares to Van Wolfswinkel in space inside the box. The striker is woefully short of confidence though, and can't even bring it under control.
Cohade's cross is not a bad one, heading towards Erding at the far post. However, Marquinhos rises highest to head clear. Better still from the visitors, who are beginning to be positive at last.
Pastore drives the ball forward on the break and has options left, right and centre. He takes it all on his own though, and is thrown off his stride by a forceful shoulder from Sall. Chance gone.
Lucas tries to make a name for himself with a cutting run infield that takes him past two players but not a third, as the ball is lost to Sall just at the top of the D. Promising, but it counted for nothing in the end.
PSG pick up where they have left off, dominating most facets of the game. ASSE are chasing shadows at the moment, and are being out hustled at every opportunity.
Good hit by Cavani! By far the Uruguayan's best moment of the game. He drives onto his right foot and bends one towards the far corner, but Ruffier makes a good diving stop to his left.
Here we go again.
The visitors can have no complaints after they were thoroughly outplayed. One dreadful mistake really was the start of something bad for them in the first half. They have a lot to do to get back in this game.
Ruffier's comical own goal and Ibrahimovic's deadly header has seen a return to normalcy for PSG after some indifferent results. They've been by far the dominant side here at home.
The hosts run down the clock until half time, which the referee signals for right on the 45 minute mark.
It already looks like a mountain for Saint-Etienne to climb to get back into this game. They've showed nothing offensively and have slowly gotten worse at the back. It's all PSG as we approach half time.
Goal Zlatan Ibrahimovic
IBRA MAKES IT 2-0! On his return to the XI, the big striker makes his presence felt! Maxwell clips a wonderful cross into the centre of the box that is met by a pinpoint header from Ibra, who holds off Pogba to score!
Monnet-Paquet is left with his head in his hands as Pastore nutmegs him on the right. The Argentine can't add the end product to his enterprise though, as he slides it over the bar.
Van Wolfswinkel spins into space, catching out Marquinhos and opening up an avenue down the centre for PSG. Sirigu is initially slow to come off his line, but he ends up winning the ball cleanly.
This has been more like it from ASSE in the last few minutes. They've kept PSG penned back in their own half and are starting to work the ball more quickly to the flanks when they spot a potential isolation.
SIRIGU WITH A WONDERFUL SAVE! Saint-Etienne whip in a corner that Pogba attacks. His header is blocked but only right to Erding, who smacks a superb half-volley at goal that the keeper just about manages to tip over the bar! Pure reflexes.
Lemione sprays a lovely ball infield for Cohade, but his attempted layoff is weak and without foresight. There was no one there in position to accept that gift except Motta, who gets PSG back on the front foot.
RUFFIER IS FALLING APART! He's slow but reckless off his line, and he's beaten to the ball by Lucas, who flicks it over him. Luckily, Sall and Pogba were covering, and the latter manages to get the block in for the corner.
Laurent Blanc was wary pre-match of the attacking intensity that Saint-Etienne can bring to the table. So far, we've seen absolutely none of that from the visitors. They're behind away to PSG, so they'll have to release the shackles at some point.
Just to pile on the misery for the poor Saint-Etienne keeper, the home fans are now gleefully taunting him with chants of "Merci Ruffier!" Not a fun night for France's World Cup No. 2, who is still locked in contract negotiations with his club. Bet he won't bring that up in the next conference call.
The Parc des Princes crowd scream in anticipation as Ruffier faces another back pass. This time, the keeper deals with it in a perfectly capable manner, which only makes you wonder just what went down in his head on the previous play which, incidentally, has also been registered as an own goal on him.
Own Goal Stéphane Ruffier
RUFFIER HOWLER! PSG LEAD! Oh dear, that will end up on video compilations for the rest of time! Lucas had initially made a mess of an attempted through ball, leaving Clement to play a simple back-pass on the floor for his keeper. However, the ball slips under his foot and into the back of the net! Dreadful!
Verratti plays the ball into the feet of Ibrahimovic, whose lovely flick with his heel picks out the run of Lucas perfectly. However, the Brazilian's cross into the area is nowhere near Cavani at the far post, and Ruffier can smother it with little difficulty.
It's not going too well for Saint-Etienne in the attacking third. Lemoine is quickly closed down by a combination of Maxwell and Motta on the right, leading to yet another wave of PSG possession.
Maxwell overlaps well down the left and loos to have the inside track on Monnet-Paquet, but he goes down theatrically under pressure from his fellow left back. The referee was perfectly placed to rule that as an exaggeration by the Brazilian though, great decision.
Ibrahimovic will want a do over on that one. He slams it right into the closest defender in the wall. Two disappointing ends to set-pieces from the striker in this game so far, but you've not been paying attention if you think that he'll give up the next one to a teammate.
Ibra gets another free kick chance from long range after that Monnet-Paquet foul. David Luiz is also perfectly capable of the rare stunning blast from that sort of range, but there's only one candidate here.
Monnet-Paquet nibbles at the heels of Ibrahimovic, conceding the foul but preventing the Swede from seeing and potentially exploiting a dangerous run from Lucas towards an open space on the channel.
Van Wolfswinkel and Erding up top haven't seen anything approaching decent service as yet. To be honest, it will probably be like that for them for the majority of this game as Saint-Etienne must surely be focused primarily on a clean sheet.
Not a whole lot happening in terms of goalmouth action, as Saint-Etienne are doing a good job of containing the French champions so far. The pace needs to be picked up by the hosts.
Early chance here for the home side to test Ruffier as Ibrahimovic stands over a 25-yard free kick. No surprise to see him go for goal, but it's right down the throat of the Saint-Etienne keeper.
As expected, Paris Saint-Germain are dominating all of the early possession here at the Parc des Princes. Pastore has been active early and it's no surprise, he's been playing some of his best football for years.
Theophile-Catherine has to react quickly, as Pastore was about to get the space on the byline for a cross, with Ibrahimovic and Cavani lurking. However, the right back manages to clear for a corner, which comes to nothing.
No French players in the Paris Saint-Germain XI. However, there are six of them on the bench, with the most surprising omission being the excellent Blaise Matuidi in midfield.
Here we go.
Saint-Etienne make three changes to the side that defeated Karabukspor in the Europa League midweek. Key amongst those is Norwich loanee Ricky van Wolfswinkel, who replaces Max-Alain Gradel up front. He's had a terrible time in the last year or so as the goals have dried up. There aren't many better stages than this for him to make a statement.
So, Ibrahimovic defies the pre-match predictions to return from an abdominal strain and captain the home side. How they have missed him. This ends Edinson Cavani's run as the lone striker, moving him back into a role on the flanks. Thiago Motta, fresh off breaking his nose thanks to some literal skullduggery by Brandao, is fit enough to be named in midfield.
Saint-Etienne (4-5-1): Ruffier; Theophile-Catherine, Pogba, Sall, Tabanou; Clement, Cohade, Lemoine, Monnet-Paquet, Erding; Van Wolfswinkel.
PSG (4-2-3-1): Sirigu; Maxwell, Marquinhos, D.Luiz, Van der Wiel; Verratti, Motta; Pastore, Cavani, Lucas, Ibrahimovic.
Time for the starting XI's and there's good news for PSG fans. They won't have to be without the big guy any longer.
PSG have been missing the injured Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Without their talismanic Swede, the capital side have laboured to five points from their opening three games, sitting in 12th place. It boggles the mind sometimes how such an expensively-assembled squad can struggle in the absence of one player, no matter how excellent.
ASSE have taken seven points from their opening three games heading into this high-profile visit to the French capital. Only a draw last week against Rennes prevented them from having a 100 per cent record. Win tonight, and they could go top.
Welcome to our live coverage of Paris Saint-Germain's clash with Saint-Etienne in Ligue 1. I'm Keeghann Sinanan and I'll be your guide.
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