Paris Saint-Germain 4-0 St Etienne: PSG maintain perfect start
By PA Sport
Last Updated: 14/09/18 10:31pm
Paris St Germain maintained their perfect Ligue 1 record after overcoming a resilient St Etienne to triumph 4-0.
Head coach Thomas Tuchel rotated his star-studded team, with their Champions League clash at Liverpool on Tuesday in mind, as Neymar and Kylian Mbappe were left out of the matchday squad completely.
It proved to be an emotional match for St Etienne as they honoured their former defender William Gomis, who died last week at the age of 19, by emblazoning his name on their shirts.
And Les Verts dominated the opening 45 minutes before PSG registered their fifth win from five league matches thanks to goals from Julian Draxler, Edinson Cavani, Angel Di Maria and substitute Moussa Diaby.
Di Maria put the hosts on the front foot with a mazy run past three St Etienne defenders before squaring to Draxler, but Stephane Ruffier produced a smart save to deny the Germany international after just two minutes.
The visitors came into this match with one win and three draws from their four games and they showed their intent when Wahbi Khazri had a shot from the edge of the box, but fired straight at Alphonse Areola.
Lois Diony spurned a great chance to earn St Etienne a shock lead when Yannis Salibur found the striker at the near post, but he could only prod wide with the goal at his mercy.
Loic Perrin was the next player to waste a glorious chance for Jean-Louis Gasset's side with a header that drifted wide when he was left unmarked from Khazri's corner and Yann M'Vila was just off target soon afterwards.
However, PSG capitalised on Les Verts' profligacy with a moment of quality from Marco Verratti to unlock the St Etienne defence and Draxler profited to mark his first start of the season with a goal after 23 minutes.
The Italy international played a delightful chipped pass for Draxler to control the ball on his head before lifting a header over the onrushing Ruffier to earn the reigning champions a somewhat undeserved lead.
The away side threatened once more before the break with a quick counter-attack but Salibur was unable to control inside the penalty area when well-placed and that was as good as it got for the visitors.
The Parisians doubled their advantage five minutes after the restart when Cavani was hauled down in the penalty area by Perrin and the Uruguayan striker dusted himself down to slot his third goal in three games.
PSG did not have to wait much longer to move 3-0 up when Di Maria lashed home from close range with 14 minutes remaining before substitute Diaby scored his first for the club to add gloss to the scoreline.
Earlier on Friday, Nice shook off the absence of Mario Balotelli as they came from behind to beat Rennes 2-1 on the Cote d'Azur.