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Leagues: Ligue Un

Cavani drags Paris Saint-Germain past stubborn Nancy

Paris (AFP) – Edinson Cavani converted a late penalty for his league-leading 27th goal of the season as Paris Saint-Germain laboured to a 1-0 win over strugglers Nancy on Saturday.

PSG endured a frustrating afternoon despite their domination at the Parc des Princes and survived a huge scare when Nancy substitute Alexis Busin’s 75th-minute shot struck both posts.

But the hosts won a penalty after Serge Aurier was fouled by Nancy goalkeeper Sergey Chernik, leaving Cavani to score the only goal 10 minutes from time as PSG moved back level on points with leaders Monaco.

“It’s difficult to play against these teams that defend a lot and give you so little space,” Cavani told Canal+, with PSG turning their focus to defending their 4-0 lead against Barcelona at the Camp Nou on Wednesday.

“The important thing is to win. We now have to recover well and prepare for Barca,” he added.

French football legend Raymond Kopa, a three-time European Cup winner with Real Madrid in the 1950s, was honoured with a minute’s applause before kick-off after passing away on Friday aged 85 following a long illness.

With one eye on the second leg of their Champions League last 16 tie in Spain, PSG coach Unai Emery handed a first league start to Portuguese forward Goncalo Guedes after his January arrival from Benfica.

Nancy arrived on a five-match winless run that had seen them fail to score a single goal, but the visitors were determined to make life difficult for PSG with Chernik keeping out Lucas after a bustling run from the Brazilian.

Faitout Maouassa nearly stunned the home side with a long-range strike that forced Kevin Trapp into an excellent flying save to his right, while Javier Pastore and Grzegorz Krychowiak went close for PSG before the break.

Cavani headed wide from point-blank range early in the second half, while Serge Aurier was repelled superbly by Chernik before Modou Diagne made a brave goal-line block to deny Guedes. 

Nancy almost landed a sucker punch on the counter-attack following a PSG corner, as Busin composed himself well only to see his effort clip the inside of Trapp’s right-hand post and roll across the face of goal before hitting the left upright and dribbling away from goal.

Nancy then remonstrated furiously as Ivorian Aurier went to ground in the area under minimal contact from Chernik, with Cavani condemning Pablo Correa’s men to a cruel defeat after nervelessly dispatching the spot-kick.

Monaco can restore their three-point lead when they host Nantes on Sunday, while Mario Balotelli is available again after a one-match ban for Nice’s trip to Dijon later on Saturday.

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