PSG remain unbeaten after one-sided win over Bastia
Paris Saint-Germain moved 22 points clear at the top of Ligue 1 as first-half goals from Thiago Silva and Maxwell secured a regulation 2-0 victory over Bastia.
The result in the first league match back following the mid-season break extended the reigning champion's unbeaten league run to 29 games as the team canters to a fourth successive title. Bastia had arrived in the capital bolstered by two wins and a draw in December that had seen it clamber out of the relegation zone.
But Ghislain Printant's men are yet to win on their travels this season and rarely threatened to improve upon that record once Thiago Silva headed the home side in front after 29 minutes. And, after Maxwell doubled PSG's lead just before the break, an eighth home league win of the season for Laurent Blanc's side was all but assured.
In a tight and largely uninspiring opening quarter, the only two chances of note both fell the way of Bastia midfielder Seko Fofana. The on-loan Manchester City man first dragged a low shot wastefully wide after a swift counter-attack and was then similarly off-target with a speculative right-foot strike from close to 30 yards out.
Despite having looked rather labored in possession, however, PSG took the lead with its first effort on the Bastia goal. Angel di Maria's corner reached Thiago Silva, who had ghosted in at the far post, and his header had already crossed the line before Thiago Motta made sure by scrambling it into the net.
Having broken the deadlock, the home side proceeded to dominate the remainder of the first half. Lucas Moura headed over before fellow Brazilian Maxwell made it 2-0 after 39 minutes. Di Maria again claimed the assist with a delightful flighted through ball and Maxwell finished in style with a stunning angled volley.
As the second half progressed, PSG opened up the Bastia defense on an increasingly regular basis, with Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Serge Aurier and Lucas Moura all seeing goalbound efforts blocked.
Sebastien Squillaci did cause a rare anxious moment for the home defense when he pounced upon a fumble by goalkeeper Kevin Trapp on 70 minutes, but the danger was cleared and normal service was swiftly restored as substitute Ezequiel Lavezzi came within inches of making it 3-0 with a curling effort from just inside the box.
Squillaci almost inadvertently added a third for PSG in the 90th minute when he headed Lavezzi's cross against the frame of his own goal.