Paris Saint-Germain moved top of Ligue 1 thanks to Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s hat trick, which gave it a 3-1 win over Lorient on Friday.
Ibrahimovic has rarely been out of the headlines in the last week or so, first getting sent off in PSG’s UEFA Champions League success at Chelsea before then launching a foul-mouthed tirade at referee Lionel Jaffredo following last Sunday’s 3-2 defeat to Bordeaux.
However, the Ligue 1 champion’s talisman will take the spotlight for the right reasons after his treble at the Parc des Princes defeated a spirited Lorient outfit.
Ibrahimovic was chopped down by visiting goalkeeper Benjamin Lecomte in the early stages of the game and subsequently tucked home the resulting penalty.
It appeared as though PSG would be punished for wasting several opportunities when Jordan Ayew leveled with a superb strike against the run of play in the 67th minute.
But, with the clock winding down, Javier Pastore was fouled in the box by Lamine Kone and Ibrahimovic rolled in his second spot kick of the game.
And the Sweden captain completed his hat trick in injury time, unerringly firing past Lecomte from the edge of the area after being fed by Marco Verratti as PSG moved above Lyon at the top, with Hubert Fournier’s side playing Nice on Saturday.
Ibrahimovic’s evening started well as he converted low into the left-hand corner from the spot after he was brought down by Lecomte while latching on to a long ball.
PSG continued to find success from a direct approach and Ezequiel Lavezzi raced on to Pastore’s dink only to be foiled by the legs of Lecomte, with Cavani’s calls for a penalty when Wesley Lautoa appeared to handle his follow up falling on deaf ears.
Lecomte came to the rescue again with a smart one-handed parry from Ibrahimovic’s low first-time shot after he was slipped in by Veratti’s through ball.
Lavezzi had PSG’s first opportunity of the second half when he failed to convert Maxwell’s cross from the left from inside the six-yard box.
PSG’s profligacy was nearly punished by Ayew as he surged into the box and stung the palms of Salvatore Sirigu, and Cavani then came agonizingly close a first league goal since mid-January when he bent a 25-yard free kick narrowly wide on the hour.
But PSG’s failure to find a second goal came back to haunt it in the 67th minute as Ayew hit a sweet, low effort from 20 yards that nestled in the bottom-left corner.
The former Marseille man almost put Lorient on course for a shock win soon after, but Verratti was on hand to clear his half-volley off the line.
There would be another twist in the tale, though, as Kone clumsily brought Pastore to ground in the box and the home fans breathed a sigh of relief as Ibrahimovic put his penalty to left of Lecomte.
And Ibrahimovic was celebrating his treble in stoppage time. Verrati won possession deep in Lorient’s half and slid the ball to the forward, whose shot had too much power for Lecomte.
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