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Controversial Verratti goal helps PSG keep pressure on Monaco

Paris (AFP) – A hotly contested goal by Marco Verratti helped Paris Saint-Germain to a comfortable 5-0 win over bottom club Bastia on Saturday as the reigning champions kept the pressure on Ligue 1 leaders Monaco.

Edinson Cavani scored twice and also had a late penalty saved, with Lucas Moura and Marquinhos getting the other goals for the hosts at the Parc des Princes.

The win allowed Unai Emery’s side to move level on points with Monaco, although the principality side have two games in hand as well as a superior goal difference.

Monaco are at relegation-threatened Nancy later and the Champions League semi-finalists realistically need just two wins from their final four matches to become champions for the first time since 2000.

PSG are still hoping to win a fifth consecutive title but a vital victory was overshadowed by the incident that saw Verratti put them two goals up late in the first half.

With Blaise Matuidi down in the Bastia area and the ball having gone out for a throw, visiting goalkeeper Jean-Louis Leca went to check on the PSG midfielder.

However, the hosts took the throw quickly and Verratti smashed a shot into the roof of the net from the edge of the area, catching out Leca to make it 2-0 10 minutes before the interval.

The goalkeeper ran to protest to the referee but was booked for his troubles.

By that point the home side had already seen Lucas smash a shot against the angle of bar and post before the Brazilian — standing in for the suspended Angel Di Maria — was left with an easy tap in from a Matuidi assist.

A holiday weekend in France and the drab Parisian weather contributed to more empty seats than usual at the Parc des Princes, despite the importance of the match.

It only really came to life again in the final 20 minutes, with Cavani having two efforts disallowed before he made it 3-0 in the 76th minute, finishing into an empty net after a lovely combination between Julian Draxler and Goncalo Guedes.

Cavani had his penalty saved by Leca after being brought down by Alexander Djiku, but PSG were not finished there.

First substitute Giovani Lo Celso, making just his second league appearance after arriving from Rosario Central in January, clipped the ball over Leca and allowed Marquinhos to poke the ball over the line.

Lo Celso then battered a volley off the bar prior to Cavani making it 5-0 following a defensive error.

It was Cavani’s 33rd league goal of a superb season, and his 47th in 47 games in all competitions.

Bastia are a point adrift of Nancy at the bottom and two points from safety with two games remaining.

Nice, who remain in with a mathematical chance of winning the title, sitting six points adrift of the top two with three matches to play, visit Marseille on Sunday evening.

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