Ligue 1: PSG takes care of Bordeaux to move to second place
PARIS (AP) — Paris Saint-Germain overcame a sluggish start and an early red card to beat Bordeaux 3-0 on Saturday and maintain its unbeaten start to the season, thanks to two penalties from Lucas Moura and a late goal from fellow winger Ezequiel Lavezzi.
For the second straight week, PSG had a player sent off when right back Gregory Van der Wiel was shown a straight red card in the 27th minute for a tackle from behind on Bordeaux winger Wahbi Khazri.
Referee Tony Chapron then showed Bordeaux's Andre Poko a straight red 10 minutes later for a high tackle on fellow midfielder Marco Verratti.
Lucas scored his first penalty in first-half injury time and the Brazilian added the second shortly after the break. Lavezzi, who has been out for a month with a hamstring injury, pounced with a volley from midfielder Blaise Matuidi's cross in the 81st minute after coming off the bench.
Two-time defending champion PSG is four points behind leader Marseille, which goes to play fourth-place Lyon on Sunday eyeing a club record ninth straight league win.
Although PSG is still struggling to dominate games — having won five and drawn six in the league — two consecutive clean sheets have coincided with the return of Brazil pair Thiago Silva and David Luiz to the center of defense.
But coach Laurent Blanc suggested the team's overall fitness level still needs to improve.
"To do as well as last season would be pretty good, to do better will be very difficult," he said. "We're not at the same level as last season and we're not hiding from that. But it's not really in terms of how we're playing, because we always have possession, but the big difference is how we're recovering (after games)."
Bordeaux is three points behind PSG in fourth place, one point behind third-place Nantes, which won 2-0 at 19th-place Evian courtesy of second-half penalty from midfielder Jordan Veretout and a late goal from striker Yacine Bammou.
"It hurts. There were some surprising decisions but Paris deserved to win," Bordeaux coach Willy Sagnol said. "They controlled the game better than we did and played better going forward."
Sagnal was furious with the penalty decision.
"If that's a red card, then perhaps we should take up dancing or figure skating," he said. "You can interpret it how you like. The red card was already in his hand before Verratti fell down."
Blanc sympathized with his former France teammate.
"I wouldn't like to be a referee, it's difficult, but 10 against 10 for one hour is a bit much," he said.
Chapron awarded PSG a penalty in first-half stoppage time when Cedric Yambere brought down Verratti and Lucas scored confidently from the spot.
PSG was again missing star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who has been out for more than one month with a heel injury, and Uruguay striker Edinson Cavani was suspended after being sent off last weekend against Lens.
Winger Jean-Christophe Bahebeck earned a rare start in an unfamiliar center forward's role, flanked by Argentina midfielder Javier Pastore and Lucas.
PSG had an early claim for a penalty kick turned down after forward Diego Rolan barged into midfielder Blaise Matuidi.
After Van der Wiel's sending off, Bordeaux went close when Rolan fired over following a corner and then had a penalty shout of his own turned down after a challenge from David Luiz.
Lucas made it 2-0 in the 50th, after being pulled down by defender Nicolas Pallois.
Bordeaux hit back and PSG goalie Salvatore Sirigu made a smart stop to deny midfielder Jaroslav Plasil a minute later.
After Matuidi had forced a save from goalkeeper Cedric Carrasso, Matuidi sprinted down the left and crossed to the back post, where Lavezzi beat Carrasso with a slightly deflected strike.
In Saturday's other games, it was: Bastia 1, Monaco 3; Caen 2, Lorient 1; Evian 0, Nantes 2, and Reims 1, Montpellier 0.
Monaco moved up to sixth spot thanks to late goals from midfielder Geoffrey Kondogbia and winger Yannick Ferreira Carrasco.
With forward Dimitar Berbatov out for the next three weeks with a hamstring injury, Valere Germain started in attack and put Monaco ahead in the fifth minute, but midfielder Christopher Maboulou equalized in the 22nd.
After striker Lenny Nangis put Caen ahead in the third minute, Ghana forward Jordan Ayew equalized for Lorient with a penalty, and striker Mathieu Duhamel put the Normany side back in front from the spot in the 53rd.
Cameroonian forward Benjamin Moukandjo struck in the last minute for Reims.
Also Sunday, it is: Rennes vs. Lille; Guingamp vs. Nice, and Saint-Etienne vs. Metz.