PARIS: Paris Saint-Germain recorded their first win of the French Ligue 1 season on Sunday, beating promoted Nantes 2-1 at the Stade de la Beaujoire.
When Edinson Cavani gave PSG a 24th-minute lead, it looked set to be a long night for their hosts, but they held on and equalised eight minutes into the second half when a Jordan Veretout free-kick was turned into his own net by Alex at the back post.
However, Ezequiel Lavezzi got what proved to be the winner in the 74th minute, firing home the loose ball after a Lucas effort had been blocked on the line by Gabriel Cichero.
With his choice of a 4-4-2 formation coming in for some criticism after the defending champions were held by Montpellier and then Ajaccio in their opening two games, PSG coach Laurent Blanc opted for a three-man attack here, with Lavezzi brought back in alongside Cavani and Zlatan Ibrahimovic.
Even against a five-man Nantes defence, PSG threatened to run riot in the early stages, with home goalkeeper Remy Riou racing off his line to deny Ibrahimovic before Cavani’s first-time half-volley flashed just wide midway through the first half.
Shortly after, Ibrahimovic and Cavani combined for the opening goal, with the latter racing on to the Swede’s pass before firing low past Riou.
Yet the visitors could not build on that and only a fine Salvatore Sirigu save prevented Cichero from equalising for Nantes from an overhead kick just before the break.
The hosts did draw level soon after the restart when the unfortunate Alex, under pressure from Papy Djilobodji, saw a Jordan Veretout free-kick rebound off him and into the net at the back post.
Sirigu then had to save well to keep out a net-bound Alejandro Bedoya header, but PSG silenced the 37,000 crowd when Lavezzi scored what proved to be the winner.
Monaco drew 0-0 at home to Toulouse on Friday in a game played behind closed doors at the Stade Louis II as a punishment for crowd trouble at the end of last season.
Claudio Ranieri’s side now travel to face Marseille in a top-of-the-table clash at the Stade Velodrome next Sunday. AFP