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2016/17 French Ligue 1, Regular Season
  • Michael Ciani (68')
  • Benjamin Jeannot (28' OG)
  • Christopher Nkunku (52')

Paris Saint-Germain ease past Lorient to move into second place

PARIS -- Paris Saint-Germain responded to their Champions League humiliation against Barcelona by scraping past the worst team in the French league.

Sunday's 2-1 win against last-placed Lorient will do little to wipe away the embarrassment of making history midweek when PSG lost 6-1 to become the first side eliminated from the knockout stage after winning 4-0 in the first leg of the round of 16.

That unwanted feat will always stick with PSG coach Unai Emery, who was given a vote of confidence following the defeat by president Nasser Al-Khelaifi. Emery's predecessor, Laurent Blanc, also got a vote of confidence but was fired last summer to make way for Emery's arrival from Sevilla.

However, victory does at least move PSG above Nice and into second place behind leader Monaco, who are three points clear. Monaco's significantly better goal difference effectively makes that lead four points, with nine games left for defending champion PSG to close the gap.

"Yes, we are a bit relieved," said PSG midfielder Christopher Nkunku, who scored the second goal. "The most important thing was to win."

PSG took the lead in the 28th minute following Angel Di Maria's low corner. Benjamin Jeannot scored an own-goal as the ball skimmed off his shin and inside the near post as he challenged for it with PSG striker Edinson Cavani.

Cavani had gone close moments earlier when winger Julian Draxler's smart back heel played him clean through and his low strike forced goalkeeper Benjamin Lecomte into a fine save, leading to the corner.

The 19-year-old Nkunku doubled the lead in the 52nd, beating Lecomte inside his near post with a shot from just outside the penalty area after good work from Cavani.

Lorient center-back Michael Ciani pulled a goal back midway through the second half, rising above Brazilian center-back Marquinhos and planting a firm downward header past goalkeeper Kevin Trapp.

But this was Lorient, and not five-time European champion Barca, and there was no late collapse from PSG this time.