October 27, 2012

PARIS (AP) -- French leader Paris Saint-Germain again needed a goal from star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic as it ground out a 1-0 win away to Nancy on Saturday.

Ibrahimovic scored the winner in the 74th minute with an impressive solo effort -- his 12th goal in all competitions since joining from AC Milan -- after earlier hitting the crossbar with a free kick.

But last-place Nancy also hit the woodwork early on through forward Benjamin Moukandjo and made life difficult for PSG, which is still unbeaten after 10 league games but has yet to show the sparkling attacking play promised by its massive summer outlay of over 150 million.

The win moved PSG three points clear of Toulouse, which beat Nice 3-1 at home, and Marseille, which plays fourth-place Lyon at home on Sunday.

"It's a great win for us, because we've always had trouble winning here. It was a really tough match, the first half in particular was very closely contested,'' PSG coach Carlo Ancelotti said. "Then we took control of the game and we won thanks to a good second half.

"We've been playing every three days and, after the Reims and (Dimamo) Zagreb games, we've won again without conceding a goal,'' Ancelotti added. "The team looks really solid at the moment.''

Although PSG's defense has looked better since Brazil center half Thiago Silva started playing regularly, the attack has yet to gel.

PSG's massive reliance on Ibrahimovic, who has scored 10 league goals in nine games, was again evident. Only one other player has scored more than one league goal this season -- stirker Kevin Gameiro, who has three. Blaise Matuidi, Javier Pastore and Jeremy Menez have just one each.

Nancy almost took the lead in the second minute when Moukandjo's fierce strike from just inside the penalty area hit the crossbar.

Ibrahimovic hit a ferocious free kick from 30 yards (meters) out which struck the crossbar in the 69th.

Moments later, the imposing Swede was celebrating another fine goal as he muscled his way into the penalty area, shrugging off several defenders, and struck a low shot that goalkeeper Guy N'Dy Assembe got a hand to but could not keep out.

Wissam Ben Yedder fired Toulouse in front with his seventh goal of the season, cutting in down the right, dribbling past a defender and hitting a curling shot that clipped the crossbar and went in.

France midfielder Etienne Capoue added the second goal moments later with a deflected header. Midfielder Benoit Lesoimier pulled one back for Brest in the second half before Adrien Regattin made it 3-1 in stoppage time.

Seventh-place Reims had a tough game against Troyes, which beat Marseille last weekend to earn its first win of the season.

Left back Aissa Mandi put Reims ahead in the 28th, but midfielder Fabien Camus equalized for Troyes midway through the second half. Troyes remains in 19th place, just one point ahead of Nancy, and one behind Sochaux, which did not play after its home clash with Evian was called off due to heavy snowfall.

Lille bounced back from its midweek Champions League defeat by beating Valenciennes 2-1 and climbing up to ninth spot.

Lille, which lost 1-0 at home to Bayern Munich on Tuesday, made the perfect start when Valenciennes defender Gaetan Bong turned the ball into his own net under pressure from Lille striker Nolan Roux in the second minute.

Valenciennes midfielder Carlos Sanchez was sent off in the 28th for picking up two quick yellow cards.

Lille got its second goal just before the break when forward Salomon Kalou broke free and passed wide to winger Dimitri Payet, who scored with a powerful low shot across goalkeeper Nicolas Penneteau.

Anthony Le Tallec pulled a goal back for Valenciennes with 20 minutes remaining after a fine run and pass from midfielder Gael Danic.

Meanwhile, defending champion Montpellier made amends for a 2-1 home defeat to Olympiakos in the Champions League on Wednesday.

Souleymane Camara's fifth goal of the campaign put Montpellier ahead in the 53rd, and Nigeria forward John Utaka doubled the lead 10 minutes later after he was set up by winger Remy Cabella.

Nice defender Renato Civelli scored an own goal in the 87th to make it 3-0, and Dario Cvitanich grabbed a consolation goal from the penalty spot in stoppage time.

In Sunday's other matches, it is Bastia vs. Bordeaux and Lorient vs. Ajaccio.

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