PARIS, France ● Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Paris Saint-Germain ripped Ligue 1 rivals Caen to pieces in a 6-0 thrashing at the Parc des Princes on Saturday, sending the champions 30 points clear at the top.
The result follows PSG’s disappointing 3-2 aggregate Champions League quarter-final defeat to Manchester City, and backs up some theories to why they failed to make the semis again.
On the day Paris won this season’s Ligue 1 title, it was with a 9-0 victory over bottom club Troyes, and there have been other five-goal romps even as PSG rotate their squad amid theories their continental failure stems from a lack of competition to the Qatari-bankrolled super squad.
Ibrahimovic scored twice, both emphatic finishes, taking his tally to 32 league goals this season to equal his previous best, while Argentine playmaker Angel di Maria, so ineffective against City, netted with a sumptuous lob.
Other goals came from the returning Blaise Matuidi, banned for the City game, a typically marauding Edinson Cavani run and shot made it five and defender Maxwell turned home a Cavani cross for 6-0.
Coach Laurent Blanc conceded that the rout “doesn’t cancel out” the massive disappointment felt by PSG of their Champions League exit.
“This win doesn’t cancel out anything, it doesn’t allow us to progress to the Champions League semi-finals,” he said.
“But this win enabled us to regain our smile, for as you can imagine it’s been four days now that we haven’t done a lot of smiling.”
Blanc had made a string of changes, but Caen, who went into the game ninth in Ligue 1, were simply blown off the park.
If the stands featured uncomfortable gaps – and some early whistling may have embarrassed the home side – they must now turn their attentions to the French Cup semi-final with Lorient on Tuesday and the League Cup final against resurgent Lille next Saturday at the Stade de France.
Angers won 3-1 at Bordeaux despite going down to 10 men early on. Ismael Traore was dismissed in the first half but Angers took a two-goal lead with goals from Cheikh Ndoye and Mohamed Yattara before Diego Rolan struck back for Bordeaux. Gregory Bourillon then sealed the points late on for the away side.
Sofiane Boufal bagged a hat-trick as Lille won 4-2 at 10-man Ajaccio. Boufal and Gregory Pujol exchanged first-half strikes before the home side saw Roderic Filippi dismissed.
Boufal then made them pay with two more before Alassane Toure pulled one back for Ajaccio. A Pablo Martinez own goal then made sure of the points for Lille.
Lorient nicked a late draw against Toulouse as Zargo Toure’s 90th-minute strike cancelled out Wissam Ben Yedder’s opener.
Troyes recorded a rare win as they beat Reims 2-1. Fabien Camus opened the scoring for the home side and Benjamin Nivet doubled their lead from the penalty spot before Thievy Bifouma netted a consolation goal.
And Saint-Etienne nicked a 1-0 win at Bastia thanks to Nolan Roux’s second-half strike.
On Friday Alexandre Lacazette grabbed a late equaliser as 10-man Lyon salvaged a 1-1 draw in the chase for second place in Ligue 1 in a match stopped to clear up a snowstorm of ripped up newspapers.
Nice took an 18th-minute lead after Valere Germain beat a Lyon offside trap, while Lacazette prodded home in the 82nd minute after Mathieu Valbuena had hit the bar as the sides struggle to claim Ligue 1’s second automatic Champions League berth.
The result means Lyon remain second with 56 points after 34 games, while Monaco are third on 55 ahead of their trip to Marseille Sunday, one point ahead of Nice.
On Sunday, Nantes host Montpellier, Guingamp travel to Rennes and Monaco face Marseille.