Saint-Germain crowned autumn champions

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Paris Saint-Germain’s French defender Layvin Kurzawa (L) challenges Troyes’ French defender Chris Mavinga during the French L1 football match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Troyes at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris on Saturday (Sunday in Manila). AFP PHOTO

Paris Saint-Germain’s French defender Layvin Kurzawa (L) challenges Troyes’ French defender Chris Mavinga during the French L1 football match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Troyes at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris on Saturday (Sunday in Manila). AFP PHOTO

PARIS: Paris Saint-Germain is guaranteed to end 2015 on top of the Ligue 1 table after a 4-1 win against Troyes on a day marked by tributes to the victims of the recent terror attacks.

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It was a routine win for PSG with Edinson Cavani and Layvin Kurzawa finding the net either side of a Zlatan Ibrahimovic penalty before youngster Jean-Kevin Augustin wrapped up the points.

Thomas Ayasse got one back for the away side but the win for Paris means they are still unbeaten domestically this season and are so far clear of their rivals that they have already secured the symbolic title of autumn champions for the team that tops the table at Christmas.

“It is a good thing to be autumn champions because it confirms that we are picking up an enormous amount of points, but it does not mean we are certain to win the title,” tempered PSG coach Laurent Blanc despite his team finishing the day 15 points clear at the top.

The match was also significant for being the first top-level game to be played in the French capital since the terror attacks in the city and outside the Stade de France during France’s game with Germany on November 13 that left 130 dead and many more injured.

With France still in a state of emergency, there were stringent security checks on the way into the Parc des Princes, and there was also a moving tribute before the game kicked off.

The likes of Lionel Messi, Neymar, Wayne Rooney, Cristiano Ronaldo and other sporting superstars appeared on a video played on big screens with each repeating the slogan ‘Je Suis Paris’ (I am Paris) that PSG also sported on their shirts.

A huge French flag greeted the players as they came out while ‘La Marseillaise’ was sung and a minute’s silence held, just as had been the case across France and elsewhere in Europe last weekend.

France’s Prime Minister Manuel Valls and the Emir of Qatar were among the crowd for the game as the club owned by the Gulf state further demonstrated their dominance over the rest of Ligue 1.

PSG were looking to make it 24 Ligue 1 games unbeaten against a Troyes side that had still not won since returning to the top flight in the summer and it was a largely one-sided contest.

Cavani had already come close twice before he opened the scoring 20 minutes in, meeting Angel Di Maria’s assist with a first-time finish after the visitors lost possession cheaply in their own half.

At the other end Kevin Trapp had to intervene twice with good saves from Fabien Camus and Benjamin Nivet to ensure Paris remained in front going into half time.

AFP

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