Paris Saint-Germain returned to the top of the Ligue 1 table with a rampant 6-1 victory over sorry LOSC Lille at the Parc des Princes.
The mood has been low at PSG over the last few days, following the club’s unhappy exit from the Champions League at the hands of Barcelona.
The club were outclassed over that double-header, prompting a re-evaluation of their standing among Europe’s elite.
Their place as France’s top side was reinforced on Saturday, however, as the Barca blues were blown away with an emphatic 6-1 victory over Europe-chasing Lille.
The triumph reinstates PSG at the top of the French table, having played the same number of games as Olympique Lyonnais.
Lyon meet strugglers Stade de Reims tomorrow, three points behind PSG, knowing they have to win to avoid losing more ground on the leaders.
The home side’s assault on the Lille goal began instantly after kick off, when Ezequiel Lavezzi and Serge Aurier combined to create a goal-scoring opportunity for Edinson Cavani.
The maligned Uruguay forward let the moment pass him by, but left-back Maxwell, charging in from deep, was on hand to send a fine shot past Vincent Enyeama.
Less than four minutes later it was two, as Cavani, finding himself through on goal, sent a delicious chip over the Nigerian keeper.
The former Napoli man and his strike partner on the day, Lavezzi, have been on the receiving end of some criticism this season.
Here, however, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic in the stands due to suspension, they came into their own, and delivered two superb displays.
They dovetailed superbly for PSG’s third, which came just before the half-hour mark.
Cavani tore through the Lille defence before selflessly squaring a ball for Lavezzi to fire home with aplomb.
At this point, the contest was surely beyond Lille.
Blanc’s side didn’t let up, and it was 4-0 before the break when Lavezzi profited from some superb work from Blaise Matuidi to heap further misery on Les Dogues.
The convincing display came at a cost, however, as Paris lost two players to injury in the first half; Salvatore Sirigu and Serge Aurier—who had a particularly encouraging 40 minutes of action—were replaced by Nicolas Douchez and Gregory van der Wiel respectively.
Marko Basa pulled a goal back for Lille in the second half, but the team’s muted celebrations were testament to Paris’s overwhelming superiority.
Things were to get a lot worse for Rene Girard’s side.
Lavezzi burst through on goal on 72 minutes, only to be brought down by right-back Sebastien Corchia when through on goal. The defender was dismissed with a straight red card, before Cavani stepped up to fire home from the spot.
Both players attempted to bag a hat-trick during the final 20 minutes, but it was Lavezzi who succeeded.
The Liverpool target was found by a Javier Pastore pass on 77 minutes and muscled two defenders out of the way before sending a powerful strike across Enyeama’s goal.
It was a disastrous afternoon for Lille, whose chances of qualifying for the Europa League were dealt a major blow, but PSG will have given themselves a major boost as they seek to retain their Ligue 1 crown.