France: Zlatan scores, PSG remains undefeated in Ligue 1 play
PARIS (AP) — French league leader Paris Saint-Germain remained undefeated at the halfway point after beating Caen 3-0 away on Saturday.
Angel di Maria, who scored twice, underlined the good start to his PSG career since joining from Manchester United in the offseason. He has nine goals in all competitions with 10 assists.
His first goal was a crisp finish after Caen failed to clear a cross from right back Serge Aurier. He added his second five minutes after the break, clipping the ball neatly over goalkeeper Remi Vercoutre from close range.
In between, Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored a spectacular league-leading 15th goal with a powerful shot from just outside the penalty area.
PSG has not lost in the league since a 3-2 defeat away to Bordeaux on March 15, and was under little threat from the Normandy side.
Caen was awarded a late penalty when captain Thiago Silva barged into striker Andy Delort, but PSG goalkeeper Kevin Trapp dived to his right to push away Delort's shot.
Heading into the winter break, PSG sits 19 points clear of Monaco, which was held to a goalless draw at Troyes, as the bottom club recorded its third successive draw despite playing almost the entire match with 10 men.
Angers can move back into second and cut the gap to 17 if it wins at Saint-Etienne on Sunday.
With 51 points, PSG has the highest total midway through a season — one more than Lyon's tally in 2006 — and PSG's 48 goals is also the highest tally.
PSG's defense has also been strong, with only nine goals conceded in 19 games, giving coach Laurent Blanc's side a massive goal difference of plus-39.
Monaco looked certain to win after Troyes went down a man in the third minute when Mouhamadou Dabo fouled Helder Costa, with the on-loan Benfica forward through on goal.
However, Lacina Traore's penalty was too weak and Paul Bernardoni was able to save it — the first crucial stop by the Troyes goalkeeper.
Monaco could have had another penalty minutes later but the referee waved away the visiting side's protests when Traore was fouled by Thiago.
Troyes could also have had a spot kick when Stephane Darbion appeared to be fouled by Ricardo Carvalho.
Troyes had chances to snatch victory in the dying seconds, but has equaled Bastia's record of being without a win in its first 18 league matches.
Guingamp and Toulouse remained mired in the relegation zone. Guingamp fell to a fifth consecutive defeat 2-0 at home to Rennes, with Ousmane Dembele and Giovanni Sio netting the goals.
Toulouse managed a 1-1 draw against Lille despite being reduced to 10 men after Tongo Doumbia was sent off in the 68th following a second booking.
Sofiane Boufal rescued a point for Lille three minutes from time, atoning for his mistake in the buildup to Wissam Ben Yedder's opener.
Bastia moved three points above the drop zone with a 2-0 win against fellow struggler Reims, while Lorient drew 0-0 against Nantes.
Corsican side Gazelec Ajaccio hosts Lyon and Marseille travels to Bordeaux in Sunday's other games.