PARIS (AP) — Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored a hat trick as Paris Saint-Germain beat Lorient 3-1 on Friday to move provisionally top of the French league.
Ibrahimovic drew attention to himself for the wrong reasons over the last week when leading politicians criticized him for an expletive-laced rant aimed at match officials following last weekend's 3-2 loss at Bordeaux.
Ibrahimovic's first two goals were penalties and he then struck in injury time to take his season's tally to 17 in 21 league games.
But PSG once again labored to victory and survived a scare when Lorient forward Jordan Ayew equalized in the 67th minute and saw another effort headed off the line by midfielder Marco Verratti moments later.
Lyon can restore its two-point lead over PSG with a home win over Nice on Saturday.
Ibrahimovic scored twice against Bordeaux but then lost his temper after the game. He was captured lambasting French officials in a furious tirade which could earn him up to a four-game ban when the French league's disciplinary committee rules the case next month.
The imposing Swede, who is also suspended from the first leg of PSG's Champions League quarterfinal against Barcelona next month, owed PSG a big performance and did not disappoint.
He was at the forefront of many attacking moves and earned a penalty in the fourth minute after goalkeeper Benjamin Lecomte clumsily brought him down after rushing off his line.
Ibrahimovic coolly sent him the wrong way from the spot.
PSG wasted further chances and paid the price when Ayew — who used to play for PSG's bitter rival Marseille — equalized with a crisp strike from the edge of the penalty area.
Moments later, Lorient forced a corner and Ayew's agile shot on the turn looked certain to go in until Verratti got his head on it.
That was as close as Lorient got, and Ibrahimovic made it 2-1 from the spot after Lamine Kone went in late on Javier Pastore.
Two minutes into injury time, Verratti's astute pass released Ibrahimovic, who slightly delayed his shot before planting it confidently past Lemonte to make it 73 league goals in 88 games since joining three years ago.
However, the outspoken Ibrahimovic could not resist another gesture.
Whilst celebrating, he raised his arms and opened and closed his hands quickly as if mimicking a chatterbox, doubtless in reference to the criticism he had received in the days leading up to the match for speaking out.