Doubles from Edinson Cavani and Lucas Moura keep PSG alive in Ligue 1
Paris Saint-Germain kept the Ligue 1 title race -- mathematically -- alive for another few days with a 5-0 win away at Saint-Etienne, thanks to goals from Edinson Cavani (two), Lucas Moura (two) and Julian Draxler.
Cavani. The Uruguayan international now has 49 goals from 48 appearances across all competitions with PSG this season and needs just one more strike to equal Zlatan Ibrahimovic's record haul from last campaign and two to beat it.
Lucas. It was a rare clinical outing from the Brazilian, who scored his 11th and 12th Ligue 1 goals for the term. The South American could and should have had more to his name -- as should Cavani -- but it was an example of what Lucas is capable of when he performs relatively efficiently.
PSG needed to win at Stade Geoffroy-Guichard and rain on Christophe Galtier's emotional farewell, and that is exactly what the French champions did. Les Verts could further prolong the Ligue 1 title race next week, but Les Parisiens have done all they can for now.
It is hard to find fault in anything significant after a 5-0 victory away from home to silence vociferous home support.
Manager rating out of 10
7 -- Unai Emery went with his strongest possible starting XI and was rewarded with a handsome victory but one that was required in Nice a few weeks ago.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Kevin Trapp, 6 -- The German shot-stopper did well to keep Henri Saivet out in the first half, and he denied Romain Hamouma in the second. Otherwise, it was a quiet evening between the sticks.
DF Thomas Meunier, 6 -- The Belgian international nearly scored a stunning goal in the second half but was denied by a flying Stephane Ruffier save. Apart from that, he was more or less solid at right-back with no real defending to do.
DF Thiago Silva (C), 6 -- The captain lasted only the first 45 minutes and was replaced by fellow Brazilian Marquinhos at half-time, but when he was on the pitch, he was commanding enough to keep the tame home attack at bay.
DF Presnel Kimpembe, 6 -- A surprise starter over newly discovered father-to-be Marquinhos, the youth academy graduate formed a solid central defensive partnership with Silva in the first half and the other Brazil international in the second.
DF Maxwell, 6 -- The veteran Brazilian is unlikely to be offered a new contract -- as a player -- by the capital club, which means next week's clash with Caen will probably be his last game at Parc des Princes. Once again, the reliable left-back contributed a steady showing and assisted Cavani's opening header.
MF Adrien Rabiot, 6 -- The French international fared well in place of Thiago Motta and set the tempo adequately from midfield.
MF Marco Verratti, 7 -- The Italian was vibrant and involved, assisting Lucas Moura for the first of his brace before half-time. The Azzurri star almost got in on the act himself before the break, but Stephane Ruffier denied him, and he created a great chance for Cavani in the second half before making way for Giovani Lo Celso with 11 minutes to go.
MF Blaise Matuidi, 6 -- The French international struggled a bit in the first half but got going in the second. The former Saint-Etienne man played Draxler in gloriously in the second, but the German was unable to finish, though Matuidi did tee up Cavani for his second.
FW Lucas Moura, 8 -- The Samba star was energetic and hurt the Saint-Etienne defence with his pace and mazy dribbling but also took two of his chances in a rare clinical display.
FW Edinson Cavani, 8 -- The Uruguayan added two more goals to his impressive tally for the season and is now at 35 in Ligue 1 alone. The South American could and should have had more but will be content with his brace, which keeps him on course to surpass Ibrahimovic's all-time record of 50 goals in a single season over all competitions.
FW Julian Draxler, 7 -- The ex-Wolfsburg man ultimately got the goal he was threatening all night in Saint-Etienne. Although he missed a great chance when played in by Matuidi early in the second half, he took his next chance extremely well when presented with it by a Verratti-esque Lo Celso assist.
DF Marquinhos, 6 -- Sent on in Silva's place at half-time, the Brazilian enjoyed a solid but unspectacular second half alongside Kimpembe at the heart of the defence.
FW Goncalo Guedes, NR -- Given a run-out at the end, the Portuguese replaced Lucas after 78 minutes but did not see much of the ball.
MF Giovani Lo Celso, NR -- It was an eventful final 12 minutes for the Argentine starlet after coming on for Verratti. The January arrival sublimely set up Draxler to make it 5-0 but was also booked for conceding a free kick.
Jonathan Johnson covers PSG and the French national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @Jon_LeGossip.