Zlatan to the double as PSG register first win

Posted at 09/03/2012 6:39 PM

PARIS - Paris Saint-Germain registered their first win of the new Ligue 1 season on Sunday night as a first-half double from Zlatan Ibrahimovic helped the capital club to a 2-1 triumph at Lille.

PSG's Qatari owners must have been getting restless after seeing their expensively-assembled team limp to three draws in their opening three games, but their signature summer signing Ibrahimovic was the star of the show at Lille's impressive new Grand Stade.

Coach Carlo Ancelotti responded to an impotent attacking display in last Sunday's goalless home stalemate against Bordeaux by restoring Marco Verratti and Jeremy Menez to his starting line-up, and the latter provided a fine assist for the opening goal, which arrived after just 27 seconds.

His cushioned pass allowed Ibrahimovic to slot past Lille 'keeper Mickael Landreau from the left-hand side of the area to give the visitors a dream start.

However, Lille responded like a side whose confidence had been buoyed by their midweek win against FC Copenhagen which took them into the Champions League group stage, and they were level 11 minutes later when Aurelien Chedjou stole in front of Ibrahimovic to head home a corner.

But the super Swede beat the outrushing Landreau to a Javier Pastore through ball and fire PSG back in front midway through the first half for his fourth goal in Ligue 1, and the capital club held on to their 2-1 lead for the remainder of a keenly-contested encounter.

"We were well organised in defence, there was a good attitude, a great counter-attacking game and the fantastic skill of Ibrahimovic," said Ancelotti.

"It's a massive win, we were victorious on a tough pitch (to win) against a strong team."

The Italian added: "To build a team like we want is not easy. But I don't think that all the problems are solved. Naturally, a win can lend us a lot of confidence. We can use this match and victory to build a better team."

PSG are six points adrift of leaders Marseille, however, after OM continued their perfect start to the campaign thanks to a 3-1 home victory against Rennes at the Stade Velodrome.

New signing Joey Barton watched on as Andre-Pierre Gignac's magnificent 84th-minute volley flew past Rennes 'keeper Benoit Costil to put the home side 2-1 up after Julien Feret had cancelled out Jeremy Morel's first-half opener.

Rennes captain Romain Danze then turned a cross into his own net in stoppage time to seal the points for Marseille, who are two points clear of Lyon at the summit thanks to their best start to a season since 1932.

"It was a goal of great class," said Marseille coach Elie Baup of Gignac's crucial strike.

"But the team as a whole pushed for the win. I could feel that the players were not willing to accept a 1-1 draw.

"I have lots of confidence in the players who are in the dressing room, a group of players who have shown a desire to surpass themselves and to succeed.

"It's great to see their enthusiasm and the pleasure they take from playing the game."

Earlier on Sunday, Bordeaux continued their unbeaten start but had to settle for a point in a 1-1 draw with Nice at the Stade Chaban-Delmas.

Bordeaux were reduced to 10 men when Lamine Sane was sent off just after the hour mark, but substitute Henri Saivet gave them the lead with four minutes remaining.

However, Nice levelled two minutes into injury time thanks to a cute lob from Mahamane Traore.

Nice are still looking for their first win under new coach Claude Puel.

On Saturday, Lyon had to come from behind to beat Valenciennes 3-2 in their first game since the departure of goalkeeper Hugo Lloris to Tottenham Hotspur.

Champions Montpellier won for the first time this season, 3-1 at bottom side Sochaux, while Ludovic Giuly scored his first Ligue 1 goal since February last year in Lorient's 3-0 home win against Nancy.

There were also wins on Saturday for Saint-Etienne, Brest and Ajaccio, while Toulouse and Reims drew 1-1.

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