Cavani scores a double as PSG beat Stade Rennais 4-1
Edinson Cavani struck twice as Paris St Germain continued their march towards the Ligue 1 title with a 4-1 home thrashing of Stade Rennais on Sunday.
In the absence of the injured Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Angel Di Maria also found the back of the net after Mbaye Niang had cancelled out Cavani’s early opener.
Leaders PSG now have 56 points from 20 games and lead second-placed Lille, who beat Olympique de Marseille 2-1 away on Friday and have played two more games, by 13 points.
Olympique Lyonnais, who are on 40 points secured a vital win. Jason Denayer earned them a 1-0 win at strugglers Amiens earlier on Sunday.
At the Parc des Princes, Rennes were a match for PSG for 45 minutes. But they cracked under the home side’s relentless pressure after the break.
Cavani headed home from close range in the seventh minute to give Thomas Tuchel’s side a perfect start. Only for Niang to equalise in the 28th with a clever backheel.
Di Maria, however, restored the advantage on the hour. He flicked the ball past Tomas Koubek after collecting Thiago Silva’s long pass.
Ligue 1 top scorer Mbappe netted his 18th goal of the season six minutes later. With a strike from inside the box.
Cavani made it 4-1 in the 71st minute when he latched onto a Mbappe cross.
The victory was overshadowed by coach Thomas Tuchel’s admission that Neymar is set to miss next month’s Champions League showdown with Manchester United.
Neymar was missing against Rennes after suffering a recurrence of a metatarsal injury during the French Cup win over Strasbourg in midweek.
Neymar missed the last 3 months of last season after suffering a fracture in the same foot last February. Le Parisien reported on Sunday evening that he had now suffered another “hairline” fracture.
Tuchel said he could not confirm that, but accepted it would be “super difficult” for Neymar to be ready in time for the Champions League last 16, first leg at Old Trafford on February 12.
“It is still too early to talk about a return date. Because we need to wait and see how ‘Ney’ reacts to treatment to be more precise,” he said.
Brazil team doctor Rodrigo Lasmar is expected to visit the world’s most expensive player on Monday. With the Selecao thinking ahead to the Copa America.
Brazil coach Tite and national team coordinator Edu were in attendance. They were checking on the form of some of their key players. But it is unclear what they will have taken from PSG’s victory.
While Neymar was absent. His compatriots Marquinhos and Daniel Alves were played out of position in central midfield due to a lack of other options available to Tuchel.
PSG are hoping to complete a deal to sign the Argentine midfielder Leandro Paredes from Zenit Saint Petersburg. They have also been linked with a move for Everton’s Idrissa Gueye before the January transfer window closes.
On the field, PSG won a game played in a rather flat atmosphere. With one end of the stadium partially closed as punishment following incidents during a game late last year.