PARIS: Christopher Nkunku’s first Ligue 1 goal helped Paris Saint-Germain avoid further embarrassment with Sunday’s (Monday in Manila) 2-1 win at Lorient providing some minor relief following their Champions League humiliation.
Four days after a historic meltdown in Barcelona, Edinson Cavani flicked on a corner that brushed Benjamin Jeannot and went down as an own goal to give PSG a 28th-minute lead at the Stade du Moustoir.
Nineteen-year-old Nkunku, who was left out the squad for Wednesday’s 6-1 drubbing at the Camp Nou, scored the visitors’ second on 52 minutes as his low strike dipped under Lorient goalkeeper Benjamin Lecomte.
Michael Ciani’s header pulled one back for the hosts but PSG secured a welcome win in the wake of a disastrous European last-16 exit to stay within three points of leaders Monaco.
“The big teams are ready for everything. While we worked a lot, we said it was difficult, but now we have to look forward and continue to work and keep on winning. That’s the most important thing,” Cavani told Canal+.
“The first thing we think about all season is the league. It’s the league that allows you to prepare and be ready for all the other competitions. The main goal is the championship.”
Unai Emery fielded eight of the 11 players to start against Barca earlier in the week, with only Marco Verratti, Blaise Matuidi and Lucas missing for the trip to Brittany.
A visit to the league’s bottom side appeared an ideal tonic for the smarting French champions, but Kevin Trapp had to be alert to keep out Alhassan Wakaso’s threatening early effort.
Cavani, who looked to have secured PSG’s place in the Champions League quarter-finals before their stunning late collapse, was denied his 28th goal of the season by Lecomte moments before the away side took the lead.
The resulting corner from Angel Di Maria skipped off both the Uruguayan and Jeannot before Arnold Mvuemba inexplicably allowed the ball to squeeze past him at the near post.
Lorient has conceded more goals than any other side this season and Lecomte was beaten all too easily by Nkunku when the teenager’s long-range strike flashed past him early in the second half.
And while Ciani glanced in from Sylvain Marveaux’s corner to give Lorient a glimmer of hope, PSG avoided a costly slip-up to keep pace with Monaco and deal Lorient a fifth successive reverse.
Depay wonder strike
Earlier, Memphis Depay scored from near the halfway line as Lyon rode their luck early before crushing Toulouse 4-0.
Toulouse struck the woodwork twice through Andy Delort and Corentin Jean before defender Christophe Jallet hammered Lyon into the lead on 36 minutes at Parc OL.
Maxwel Cornet added a second shortly after half-time with a thunderous effort from the edge of the area, while Depay ran onto an assist from Jallet to stretch the advantage on 53 minutes.
Depay then netted a stunning second late on as he received the ball just inside the Toulouse half before spinning away from a defender and launching the ball over goalkeeper Alban Lafont from the center circle.
Lyon moved five points clear of Marseille with a game in hand in the race for an automatic Europa League qualification spot, while Toulouse saw their six-match unbeaten streak snapped.
Earlier, Saint-Etienne skipper Loic Perrin headed a last-gasp equalizer in a 2-2 draw at home to Metz, although their European prospects are fading after a fourth game in a row without a win.
Teen prodigy Kylian Mbappe scored his 10th league goal of the campaign in Monaco’s 2-1 win over Bordeaux on Saturday to cement their place at the top.
Mbappe opened the scoring midway through the second half at the Stade Louis II and a beauty from Joao Moutinho doubled the principality side’s lead.
They held on to take all three points after a howler from goalkeeper Danijel Subasic allowed Diego Rolan in to reduce the arrears.
Nice lost ground on Friday despite coming back from two goals down to draw 2-2 at home to Caen, Mario Balotelli and Anastasios Donis getting their goals.