Paris Saint-Germain emphasized they have hit form at just the right time after beating Metz 3-1 to move three points clear at the top of Ligue 1.
First-half goals from Marco Verratti and Edinson Cavani set PSG on their way to a fifth successive league win and then Gregory van der Wiel wrapped up the points with a late third after Modibo Maiga had pulled a goal back for Metz. The victory lifts PSG back clear of Lyon at the summit and, with only four games left, another step closer to a third consecutive league title.
In contrast, Metz are scrapping for their lives at the other end of the table and this defeat leaves them eight points adrift of safety. PSG went closest to opening the scoring early on but Cavani could only head over from 12 yards after Van der Wiel picked him out.
However, an expectant Parc des Princes only had to wait until just before the 25-minute mark to see their side take the lead. Thiago Motta’s clever ball found Javier Pastore and the Argentinian played in Verratti who fired across Anthony Mfa Mezui to set the champions on their way. And, after dominating the first half, with Pastore and Cavani both going close, Laurent Blanc’s side finally added a second with the half-time whistle looming.
After playing a one-two with Pastore, Cavani burst through on goal before cleverly lifting the ball over the advancing Mfa to send the hosts in at the break with a two-goal advantage. However, despite expecting to dominate the second half early on, it was PSG who found themselves picking the ball out of the net when Maiga met Bouna Sarr’s delivery to head beyond Nicolas Douchez with the aid of the left post.
Both sides had chances soon after but Mfa came off his line to block Cavani’s effort from the right and Florent Malouda dragged a decent chance before PSG sealed the points. With little over 10 minutes left to play, Pastore was the architect yet again and his pass found Van der Wiel whose powerful low shot from the angle of the area flew under the body of Mfa.
The league leaders still had time to add to their tally late on but Mfa did well to keep out Lucas Moura’s effort before Van der Wiel fired over, although the leaders were already home and dry.