PARIS (AP) — Paris Saint-Germain won its game in hand against relegation-threatened Metz 3-1 on Tuesday to move three points clear of Lyon at the top of the French league with four games remaining.
As top scorer Zlatan Ibrahimovic sat out the last game of this three-match ban, Uruguay striker Edinson Cavani netted for the third straight league game and Argentina midfielder Javier Pastore continued his fine recent form by assisting on each goal.
"It's my best season so far with PSG, I'm scoring and setting up goals and I'm very happy," said Pastore, who was PSG's first major signing when he joined from Palermo four years ago. "We're in a good position to win the title. The key is to continue playing like we did today — we have to score a lot of goals."
Italy midfielder Marco Verratti scored in the 25th minute with only his second league goal in 85 games for PSG. Cavani made it 2-0 in the 42nd and right back Gregory van der Wiel added the third after striker Modibo Maiga pulled a goal back for Metz shortly after halftime.
Lyon has a slightly better goal difference than PSG: + 39 compared to + 36. But PSG has strong momentum with five straight wins.
Elsewhere, Troyes was promoted to the first division after beating Angers 2-1 at home.
At Parc des Princes, fans were in the mood for more goals after Saturday's 6-1 drubbing of Lille, and Pastore went close to making it 2-0 with a curling shot that flew just over.
He then played a one-two with Cavani, releasing him into space, and the Uruguay forward beat goalkeeper Anthony Mfa with a neat finish for his 12th league goal of the season. Pastore also set him up with a similarly good pass against Lille.
Maiga kept Metz in the game by heading in Bouna Sarr's right-wing cross in the 53rd minute for his fifth goal in four games.
PSG's defense became edgy after that goal and former France winger Florent Malouda went close to an equalizer midway through the second half.
But Van der Wiel's first goal of the season soothed the nerves — although the Dutchman was a bit lucky with a low shot that Mfa let slip under his body.