Lucas Moura on form as PSG annihilate Lorient

Posted by Jonathan Johnson

Lucas Moura shone in the rain as PSG slipped by Lorient.GettyImagesLucas Moura shone in the rain as PSG slipped by Lorient.

Paris Saint-Germain powered past FC Lorient with a second consecutive 4-0 home win on Friday to temporarily move three points clear of title rivals AS Monaco at the top of Ligue 1. Laurent Blanc made a host of changes at the Parc des Princes, but it mattered little. Two goals from Edinson Cavani and one apiece from Lucas Moura and Jeremy Menez did the damage, with the Brazilian in particular catching the eye.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic was absent through injury and PSG came into the clash knowing that they had only won one of four games without the towering Swede. But the convincing 4-0 score line suggests that the Ibra-dependence tag that dogged the side from the capital last season is now well and truly behind them.

Although it was a missed chance for the talismanic striker and Cavani to work on their not yet prolific partnership, the Uruguayan took the chance to underline his individual credentials with a well-taken double. Despite El Matador's two goals though, Moura was arguably the star of the night along with Marco Verratti who was also instrumental in the 4-0 drubbing.

The Brazilian was sensational in the first 45 minutes and put in an impressive showing, following his bright display in PSG's 4-0 win over SC Bastia in their last home match. Recently overlooked by Selecao coach Luiz Felipe Scolari for the upcoming November friendlies, Moura set about proving his international boss wrong.

It took the 21-year-old less than three minutes to open the scoring, netting his first ever goal at the Parc des Princes with a volley from Lucas Digne's excellent cross. Moura was a constant threat to the Lorient defence, particularly his running despite the wet conditions, and the visitors were struggling to contain him.

Two minutes before half-time, after being fouled and arguably having a case for a penalty, the Brazilian sensation played on and managed to provide a brilliant cross for Cavani to head in his first and PSG's third of the game. Although his second half was far quieter, it was a welcome return to performances similar to those that made such an impression when Moura first arrived from Sao Paulo in January.

If the samba star was man of the match though, Verratti was unlucky not to get the vote himself. The Italian, as he has been since the start of the season, was sensational again. At the heart of the PSG midfield, the Azzurri star controlled the game for PSG alongside Thiago Motta who was also impressive.

Verratti completed 100 passes in 69 minutes during the match en route to PSG’s 672 completed passes over the 90 minutes that is a Ligue 1 record for the season. The 20-year-old is showing exceptional composure on the ball and remarkable maturity too, going a second consecutive match without a yellow card. His assist for Jeremy Menez's goal was the undoubted highlight of his performance though.

Blanc’s rotation policy must be applauded once again, with Le President making no fewer than five changes to the side that drew 2-2 at AS Saint-Etienne. Blaise Matuidi was given some rest along with Maxwell, Ezequiel Lavezzi, Gregory van der Wiel and of course Ibrahimovic. But Moura, Digne, Menez, Adrien Rabiot and Christophe Jallet all slotted into the side seamlessly and no quality was lost. Menez was the pick of the bunch, putting in an encouraging performance and grabbing a well-taken goal thanks to a sublime Verratti pass.

The French international's situation perhaps best illustrates the success of Blanc's rotation policy. Despite his tantrum against SL Benfica in the Champions League after he discovered that he would not come on, Blanc is still prepared to persevere with the temperamental French international. His continued inclusion of Menez makes a point that all the players in the squad are being given the chance to prove themselves.

Javier Pastore made his predicted comeback too, replacing the captain for the evening Motta on 69 minutes. The Argentine playmaker received a warm welcome, far from the howls of derision that had been expected upon his return after a reported loss in confidence. Following the fans' glowing reception, Pastore got involved and demonstrated a keenness to return to form with a short but sharp showing. The 24-year-old could feature from the start against RSC Anderlecht in the Champions League on Tuesday.

A good start to November then, traditionally a difficult month for PSG, and also a rare home win over Lorient. The biggest positives though are just how dominant the capital side were over their Breton opponents and the continued ability to rotate the squad without losing quality. PSG have now scored 20 goals in their last six competitive matches. Cruscially though, the three points put massive pressure on Monaco who travel to face a mean Lille OSC on Sunday in what should be a tough encounter.

Next up for PSG, Anderlecht in the Champions League on Tuesday, before another home fixture against OGC Nice in the league next weekend.

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