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PSG beat Nice to forget Barca defeat

Paris Saint-Germain bounced back from their Champions League humbling against Barcelona by beating Nice 3-1 on Saturday to boost their bid for a hat-trick of Ligue 1 titles.

A clinical first half finish from Javier Pastore put PSG in charge against the run of play.

Minutes later, Mathieu Bodmer deflected a speculative effort from Said Benrahma to level with the last kick of the half.

But Paris took a decisive lead in the second half with a fine volley from Pastore and an Edinson Cavani penalty in a game sandwiched between Champions League commitments.

PSG temporarily moved a point ahead Lyon at the top of the table ahead of Sunday’s derby against Saint-Etienne.

Nice remain mired in midtable in 11th but are still not sade, only six points above the relegation zone.

With Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Marco Verratti suspended, on top of injuries to Thiago Silva and Thiago Motta, PSG coach Laurent Blanc had to rely on a reshuffled team to get past the French Riviera side.

Lucas Moura, Serge Aurier and Lucas Digne were introduced into the starting line up while former Chelsea defender David Luiz, despite not being fully fit, was bestowed with the captain’s armband.

But it was Pastore’s fourth goal of the season, following a defence-opening pass by Lucas, who gave PSG the breakthrough with their first real chance of the match.

It was, however, quickly cancelled out by former Parisian Bodmer, although Nice still went into the half-time break frustrated to have nothing more to show form their first half dominance.

The second half was a complete reversal, though, as Nice goalkeeper Simon Pouplin shined, preventing David Luiz and Lucas from finding the back of the net.

Pastore added his second of the afternoon just after the hour mark as he latched onto a rebound after Pouplin saved his original driven effort.

Cavani, brought down in the box by Jordan Amavi, bagged his ninth of the season on 69 minutes to seal the deal.

Later on Saturday, Monaco can strengthen their grip on third by beating Rennes before looking to overturn a 1-0 first-leg deficit when they host Juventus in the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final next week.

At the foot, the bottom two Metz and Lens meet in what is almost certainly the last chance for either to avoid the drop.

On Friday, Marseille’s slump continued as Marcelo Bielsa’s side went down to a 1-0 defeat at Nantes that further damaged their hopes of qualifying for next season’s Champions League.

Photo Credits : AFP

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