A brace from star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic helped to propel Paris Saint Germain to a 4-0 romp at Bastia on Saturday as the capital club moved into provisional third spot in Ligue 1.
A flurry of early draws have held up PSG’s assault on the summit currently occupied by Marseille, who were three points ahead of their traditional rivals ahead of a home meeting with Evian on Sunday.
But they were well on their way to a third straight victory once Jeremy Menez eased them in front in the seventh minute before Ibrahimovic struck five minutes before half-time.
Blaise Matuide added a third to kill off Bastia with 18 minutes remaining before Ibrahimovic delivered the coup de grace in the final minute.
The Swede insisted the match had not been a stroll in the park, however, as PSG moved onto 12 points from six games.
“It was 4-0 – but not easy,” he said. “People were saying it was easy after we beat Kiev (4-1 in the Champions League) in midweek. But it wasn’t. You still have to go out there and do things on the pitch. We were playing a good team.
“But we got the four goals and I am playing better and better – against Kiev I was a little tired.”
As PSG gather steam, defending champions Montpellier will wish they could find similar form which has proved elusive so far this term.
The southerners were held to a 1-1 draw by Saint Etienne on Friday, bringing an end to a frustrating week where they had suffered two successive defeats.
Beaten 3-1 by promoted Reims seven days ago, and then 2-1 at home to Arsenal in the Champions League on Tuesday, Montpellier needed a second-half equaliser from veteran Senegalese international striker Souleymane Camara to salvage a point.
In the 69th minute, Anthony Mounier’s cross was cleared but Remy Cabella picked up the loose ball to put Camara through for the goal.
Saint Etienne had gone ahead in the third minute of injury time at the end of the first half when Gabonese striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang grabbed his fourth goal of the season.
Montpellier boss Rene Girard was furious that his team had to play on Friday just 48 hours after the Arsenal game.
“I am not paranoid. I simply say that it’s a question of fairness. We played Arsenal, one of the best sides in Europe; we did not play Pink Floyd of Kiev,” said Girard.
Montpellier are 14th in the table with just five points, already ten off the pace.
Later Saturday, unbeaten Lorient were hoping to close within one point of Marseille with a home success over Nice while Toulouse, hosting Rennes, and Valenciennes, at Brest, were eying a move into the top top four.
Lyon, currently second two points off the top, are in action Sunday at midtable Lille, while Bordeaux – one of five unbeaten sides to date – host Ajaccio looking to go level on points with PSG.