A couple of first-half goals from Kevin Gameiro ensured that PSG stepped up their title challenge, despite a rather restrained performance against limited opponentsParis Saint-Germain did enough to beat Sochaux 2-0 at Parc des Princes in Ligue 1 on Saturday evening without ever really finding top gear.
Against eager and competitive, but ultimately limited opponents, the hosts claimed three points thanks to two first-half goals from Kevin Gameiro. Making his first start of the season, the former Lorient man finished well after being released by Javier Pastore and then stretched to turn home an inviting cross from Maxwell.
Efficiency was the watchword for Carlo Ancelotti’s side in this encounter. Sochaux, on the other hand, were busy and hungry. They took the game to their opponents in the early stages of the match, but they lacked the quality to unhinge the home defence.
PSG, on the other hand, were more measured and had greater quality about them. This was emphasised when Pastore’s wonderful defensive-splitting pass picked out Gameiro, who slotted through the legs of the exposed Simon Pouplin.
Despite this blow, Sochaux continued in their energised state. Cedric Bakambu was particularly lively, fashioning some space for himself to get a rare shot at Salvatore Sirigu’s goal. Although the Italian saved, the rebound went loose and he was fortunate to see the resultant cross drop to a defender after he fumbled.
Comfortable but by no means inspired, PSG added to their tally with a swift move 10 minutes prior to the interval. After retaining possession for a prolonged period, Pastore and Zlatan Ibrahimovic quickly raised the tempo, with the ball fed out to Maxwell on the left. The Brazilian’s cross for Gameiro was perfect, with the striker sliding to give Ancelotti’s men a cushion that it rarely looked like they would need.
The second half was played at a stroll by the home side. Neither goalkeeper would be particularly heavily worked, with Sochaux boasting a good share of the ball. Though Ryad Boudebouz’s influence increased for the visiting side, he was not able to show enough imagination to worry Thiago Silva and Alex, who dominated in the heart of the home defence, while les Lionceaux were reluctant to push too many men forward and get exposed on the counter.
For their part, PSG cruised through the latter stages, making a number of changes as they began to switch their focus towards Tuesday’s meeting with Porto in the Champions League.
In Portugal, Ancelotti’s men will have to be a great deal more focussed and serious, yet they manoeuvred through this fixture in a thoroughly professional manner to increase the heat on Ligue 1 leaders Olympique de Marseille ahead of their fixture against Valenciennes on Sunday.