Paris Saint-Germain bounced back from their midweek Champions League loss to Real Madrid with an ultimately convincing 5-2 win over a spirited Strasbourg in Ligue 1.
A home game against mid-table opponents always appeared on paper to be a perfect hangover cure for PSG, who had suffered a 3-1 reverse in the first leg of their last-16 tie at the Santiago Bernabeu on Wednesday.
Yet Unai Emery's side did not have it all their own way, with Strasbourg - one of only two sides to beat the runaway leaders in the league this season - taking a sixth-minute lead through Jean-Eudes Aholou.
PSG responded with goals from Julian Draxler, Neymar and Angel Di Maria before the break, lifting the mood inside the ground after the early goal had triggered a chorus of boos from the home fans.
While Stephane Bahoken scored to briefly give Strasbourg hope, Edinson Cavani bagged a late brace to make sure PSG restored their 12-point lead over Monaco at the top of the table.
Strasbourg had arrived in the French capital hoping for a repeat of their shock 2-1 triumph in the reverse fixture, and the early signs were promising when they stunned their hosts by scoring first.
Aholou arrived in the box at the ideal time to convert Kenny Lala's cutback cross from the right, the former's first-time strike giving goalkeeper Alphonse Areola no chance.
However, the goal only served to jolt PSG into life. Draxler capitalised on a loose ball running into his path to sweep in an equaliser with his left foot before Emery watched his side strike twice in as many minutes to take control of the contest.
Neymar put PSG ahead when he finished at the second attempt, the Brazilian seizing on the initial save from Alexandre Oukidja to tap into an unguarded net, though not before he had cheekily lifted the ball over two incoming defenders who were desperately trying to prevent the goal.
The home crowd were still celebrating when Strasbourg gifted their opponents a third straight from the re-start, Di Maria curling home with his left foot having robbed possession from the dawdling Pablo Martinez.
Neymar steered a first-time shot too close to Oukidja early in the second half, while Di Maria was guilty of missing the target completely when teed up by Dani Alves.
The misses did not prove costly in the end though, despite receiving a brief scare when Bahoken cut the deficit in half with a first-time drive that flashed in at Areola's right-hand post.
Just as they had done in the opening half, PSG responded in impressive fashion to conceding, Cavani finally getting his name on the scoresheet with a clever dink thanks to Javier Pastore's clinical through ball.
The Uruguayan striker rounded out the scoring by chipping Oukidja for a second time, taking his tally for the season to 30 as PSG rediscovered their scoring touch ahead of a meeting with Marseille in Le Classique next Sunday.
Key Opta stats:
- PSG have picked up 68 points after 26 Ligue 1 games this season, the second highest tally ever at this stage since PSG themselves accrued 70 points in 2015-16.
- PSG have won their last 13 games at home in Ligue 1 for the first time in their history.
- Paris have scored 81 goals in Ligue 1 this season, more than any other side among the Top 5 European Leagues.
- Edinson Cavani has scored 23 goals in Ligue 1 this season, no player among the Top 5 European Leagues has scored more.
- Neymar has been involved in 31 goals in Ligue 1 this season (19 goals, 12 assists), more than any other player in the Top 5 European Leagues alongside Leo Messi (20 goals, 11 assists).-Neymar has delivered - 12 assists in Ligue 1, already equalling his highest among of assists in the top-flight since his arrival in Europe (alongside 2015/16).
16 de diciembre 2018
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15 de diciembre 2018
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