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AFP
April 17, 2018

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PSG reclaim fifth French Ligue 1 title

PARIS, France: Angel Di Maria and Giovani Lo Celso scored twice as Paris Saint-Germain secured a fifth Ligue 1 title in six seasons on Sunday with a 7-1 rout of last year’s champions Monaco.

Unai Emery’s team blew Monaco away in a first-half blitz that saw PSG score four times in 14 minutes at the Parc des Princes with with Lo Celso striking either side of goals from Edinson Cavani and Di Maria. Rony Lopes pulled a goal back for Monaco as he scored for the eighth game in a row, but Di Maria added a fifth before Radamel Falcao turned into his own net and Julian Draxler struck late on as PSG romped to the club’s seventh championship.

“It was important to win the title at home,” PSG coach Emery told Canal+. “We were able to show the difference between us and Monaco. “We’ll have to wait a bit to analyse the season, we still have a trophy to play for. Other teams have more titles than us...but we must keep on building.”

With a fifth successive League Cup already won, PSG completed the second leg of a domestic treble — they are also through to the French Cup semi-finals — and could yet break their record 96-point haul from the 2015-16 campaign. PSG also became the first team in Europe’s top leagues this season to reach 100 goals on a night they were without the injured Neymar and Kylian Mbappe, the teenager left on the bench after a bout of illness. Monaco arrived in Paris unbeaten on their last eight league visits to the capital but any prospect of them prolonging PSG’s wait for the title quickly eroded.

Kamil Glik’s absence in the heart of the visiting defence was acutely felt as Lo Celso started the move that resulted in the opening goal on 14 minutes, sauntering into the box to tap in a Dani Alves cross.

While Cavani’s second half of the campaign has proved less prolific than the blistering spell that yielded 19 goals before Christmas, the Uruguayan bagged his league-best 25th goal with a powerful header from a Yuri Berchiche cross.

Cavani then released Di Maria with a superb hooked pass from inside his own half and the Argentine raced clear before lifting an exquisite chip over the advancing Danijel Subasic. Javier Pastore supplied Lo Celso to head in PSG’s fourth on 28 minutes and Monaco suffered further misfortune when France international Djibril Sidibe was stretchered off with a leg injury, a worrying sign for Didier Deschamps ahead of the World Cup. Monaco briefly held up the onslaught as Lopes turned home an Almamy Toure cross seven minutes before half-time for the in-form Portugal international’s 13th goal this term.

But PSG continued to attack at will and Pastore’s nonchalant assist for Di Maria allowed the winger to grab his second of the game on 59 minutes. The hosts were gifted another goal when Falcao’s attempt to clear a corner went horribly wrong, summing up Monaco’s misery as the ball looped beyond Subasic on 77 minutes.

Germany international Draxler rounded out the demolition, firing home via a deflection as PSG clinched the title at home for the first since 1994 while shattering Monaco’s 17-match unbeaten run.

Earlier, Florian Thauvin struck a late winner as Marseille twice came from behind to beat struggling Troyes 3-2 and stay in the hunt for a Champions League place.Marseille were reeling after Samuel Grandsir headed Troyes ahead with just 37 seconds gone at the Stade de l’Aube, but Clinton Njie’s scuffed effort soon pulled the visitors level.

The 41-year-old Benjamin Nivet fired Troyes back in front just after half-time as the veteran skipper followed up a rebound after Yohann Pele had saved from Grandsir. But a clinical finish from Greece striker Kostas Mitroglou made it 2-2 with quarter of an hour to play, and Thauvin volleyed home his team-leading 17th league goal on 86 minutes to cap a dramatic victory.

Vidal set to miss semis after knee op: Arturo Vidal is a major doubt for Bayern Munich’s Champions League semi-final against Real Madrid after coach Jupp Heynckes revealed on Monday that he needs minor knee surgery.

The Chile international limped out of training on Sunday and Bayern are waiting to hear how long he will be sidelined for.“Arturo went down without any contact and injured himself,” said Bayern head coach Heynckes.“A part of the joint has come free. He needs a small operation and will be out for the short term, but we don’t yet know how long for.”

Bayern host holders Real next Wednesday, April 25, in the first leg of their semi-final at the Allianz Arena, with the return leg in Madrid on May 1.However, Heynckes did not rule Vidal out of facing the Spanish giants. “He would have liked to play against Real,” said Heynckes.

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