Cavani grabs brace as PSG coast in Bulgaria
29 September 2016, 09:52
Razgrad - Paris Saint-Germain recovered from a slow start to
canter to a 3-1 win at Ludogorets Razgrad in the Champions League on Wednesday
night and keep pace with Arsenal at the top of Group A.
Edinson Cavani scored a brace after Blaise Matuidi had cancelled
out Natanael Pimienta's surprise opener for the Bulgarians.
But the French champions, who drew at home to Arsenal in
their opening group encounter, dominated the second half and could easily have
inflicted a much heavier defeat on the Bulgarian minnows, who are playing in
the Champions League group stage for only the second time.
PSG could have been off to a dream start but Cavani's snap
shot from just outside the area curled agonisingly beyond the corner of post
Ludogorets wasted a three-on-one counter-attack but
nonetheless took the lead on the quarter hour as Natanael curled home a
free-kick from a tight angle.
Alphonse Areola in the PSG goal was unsighted as his wall in
front of him disintegrated, with Cavani the chief culprit.
PSG were struggling to create anything, although Lucas
dragged a shot wide from distance.
But five minutes before the break, inspirational midfielder
Marco Verratti managed to unlock the Bulgarians' defence, threading the ball
through for Matuidi - who had just about stayed onside - to stroke home the
Cavani was having a typically industrious and wayward night
and started the second half by screwing a shot well beyond the upright.
Moments later, Angel Di Maria spun on a sixpence on the edge
of the box but fired just past the woodwork before then aiming a tame effort
straight at goalkeeper Vladislav Stoyanov.
PSG were ratcheting up the pressure with chances aplenty
testing the Ludogorets back line, but Di Maria proved wasteful again with a
cross-cum-shot that neither troubled Stoyanov nor gave Cavani a chance to
convert at the back post.
Yet those two did combine to give PSG the lead on 56 minutes
with Cavani flicking home Di Maria's free-kick with his head.
Almost immediately, though, the Parisians gave away a
penalty as Thiago Motta bizarrely threw himself in kamikaze NFL-style blocking
fashion across Marcelinho to deny the Brazilian-born player a clear
Areola made amends by saving Cosmin Moti's spot-kick.
And PSG went straight up the other end where the livewire
Cavani got across a ponderous Moti to convert Lucas's cross.
Cavani and Matuidi squandered good chances before Stoyanov
made a sprawling save to beat out a Di Maria free-kick, but by then the match
was long over as a contest.