PSG beat ten men Caen to top French Ligue 1

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Paris Saint Germain, bidding for a first French Ligue 1 title since 1994, bolstered those ambitions on Saturday with a 4-2 win over midtable Caen at the Parc des Princes, while Lyon moved into provisional third spot in winning their Rhone derby with Saint Etienne 2-0.

The Parisians did the minimum in truth as the hosyts, surfing on a sea of Qatari investment cash as they try to vault back to the top of the French tree, overcame somewhat laboriously rivals reduced to ten men after only 20 minutes with Benjamin Nivet dismissed.

A pair of Nene penalties thereafter helped PSG on their way as they went some way to making up for a midweek french league cup exit to Dijon.

Referee Clement Turpin was harsh on Franck Dumas’ Caen side as his first penalty award and the red card for Nivet went a long way towards settling a nervy home side.

Caen caught them cold after a 13th-minute header from Thomas Heurtaux but Turpin’s double intervention allowed the hosts to get back on track and make it six straight wins.

Nivet clumsily fouled Nene in the box after the PSG raider looked certain to score and the Caen man was immediately sent for an early bath, Nene dispatching the resulting spotkick.

Ten minutes after the restart Javier Pastore found Kevin Gameiro. Although the ball looked clearly to have gone out of play he in turn fed Jeremy Menez, who whipped in for 2-1 past keeper Alexis Thebaux.

With 15 minutes remaining the contest was all but settled as Nene again netted from the spot after Nicolas Seube barged over Gameiro.

Jerry Vandam made PSG sweat it out as he converted for 3-2 with nine minutes left but Pastore restored the two-goal advantage in the final minute with a classy low strike.

Caen coach Franck Dumas was furious with the outcome.

“I am disappointed and put out – we gave them the second goal – if we could have held them to 1-1 for longer we might have made it hard for them. As for the red card coming so early that made things all the more difficult.”

Montpellier stayed in touch three points adrift of PSG after goals from Giroud and Souelmane Camera saw off struggling Nancy.

And Lyon showed they intend to be there or thereabouts after toughing out their win over Saint Etienne at the Stade Gerland courtesy of goals inside the final nine minutes from Jimmy Briand, a header, and Yoann Gourcuff, a neat lob.

Lyon, who edged their near neighbours out of the league cup in midweek, played most of the second period with ten men after the dismissal of Mouhamadou Dabo for a foul on Banel Nicolita.

Dabo had been on the field barely seven minutes after replacing the injured Aly Cissokho.

Elsewhere, 2010 champions Marseille are slowly coming to life and recorded back-to-back wins for the first time this term in winning 3-2 at promoted Dijon, Loic Remy after just one minute, Benoit Cheyrou and Alou Diarra all on target.

The win moved Marseille into the top half of the table though they are still 14 points off PSG.

Bordeaux, title winners in 2009, have struggled even more than Marseille to date but are also clawing their way up the table after a 2-0 win at rock bottom Ajaccio secured with two goals inside three first-half minutes from Yoan Gouffran.

Reigning champions Lille vs Valenciennes on Sunday.

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