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Rediff.com  » Sports » Football Briefs: PSG fight back to maintain perfect start with win at Rennes

Football Briefs: PSG fight back to maintain perfect start with win at Rennes

Last updated on: September 23, 2018 21:04 IST

PSG

IMAGE: Paris St Germain's Angel Di Maria celebrates scoring their first goal with Neymar. Photograph: Stephane Mahe/Reuters

Paris St Germain stretched their perfect Ligue 1 start to six wins after coming from behind to beat Rennes 3-1 away in a rip-roaring clash on Sunday.

The result left PSG top of the French league on a maximum 18 points, five clear of second-placed Lille, after Angel Di Maria and Thomas Meunier cancelled out an early Adrian Rabiot own goal which fired the adventurous home side ahead.

 

Second half substitute Eric Choupo-Moting added the third in the closing stages for the visitors, who rebounded from a 3-2 Champions League defeat by Liverpool on Tuesday.

Roared on by their vocal fans, Rennes twice went close before they stunned the more fancied visitors in the 11th minute when towering striker Mbaye Niang glanced on an inswinging corner which cannoned into the net off Rabiot.

The visitors quickly regained their composure and levelled on the stroke of halftime thanks to a superb Di Maria strike, the Argentina midfielder unleashing a low shot after Edinson Cavani's clever dummy from a Julian Draxler cut-back.

PSG continued to pile on the pressure after the break, with Cavani hitting the post and Rennes twice clearing off the line in a frantic goalmouth scramble before Meunier turned the match on its head with a fine finish.

The Belgium international drilled his shot from just inside the penalty area into the bottom right corner of the net after a defence-splitting pass from Neymar, who came to life after a quiet opening half.

Rennes threw men forward in search of an equaliser and were punished after Choupo-Moting volleyed home from close range to put the icing on the cake for PSG.

Stoppage time drew a warm round of applause from the home crowd when a schoolboy fan got past security stewards to embrace Neymar, as the Brazil forward gifted him his jersey before ushering the tearful youngster off the pitch.

More VAR drama as Inter snatch dramatic win at Sampdoria

VAR

IMAGE: General view of the big screen as a penalty decision is referred to VAR. Photograph: Murad Sezer/Reuters

Inter Milan provided plenty of late drama as Marcelo Brozovic’s last-gasp goal earned them a 1-0 Serie A victory at Sampdoria in a game featuring a number of VAR controversies.

Inter struck two goals in the last five minutes to beat Tottenham Hotspur in the Champions League on Tuesday and again left it late on Saturday as Croatian midfielder Brozovic struck the winner deep into stoppage time.

The win left Inter in seventh place with seven points from five games, five points adrift of leaders Juventus who are in action on Sunday at Frosinone. Sixth placed Sampdoria are also on seven points.

Inter coach Luciano Spalletti was under growing pressure after picking up just one win in four league games and it looked like they would suffer another disappointing day when they were twice denied the lead by video reviews.

The Milan club were left furious in the wake of their 1-0 defeat by Parma last weekend after the video assistant referee (VAR) was not consulted for a potential handball inside the box.

VAR thwarted them again when Radja Nainggolan’s first-half strike was judged to be offside in the build-up before Kwadwo Asamoah also had a goal disallowed following a review, this time because the ball went out of play.

Sampdoria then looked to have snatched the win when Gregiore Defrel found the net late on, but he too was found to be offside by VAR.

Brozovic’s late strike then prompted huge celebrations from the Inter bench and Spalletti was sent off in the melee.

“Winning this way shows the character of this team, which stays in the game fighting for every ball,” Spalletti told reporters.

“It might mean taking some risks, but we are Inter and we must always live on the edge to get the win.

“Seeing this passion gives me greater strength to go forward and I’m glad that element is here rather than the tactics, as those will come with time.”

Earlier, Fiorentina moved into second place with an impressive 3-0 win over in-form SPAL in Florence.

The visitors started the season brightly with three wins from their opening four games, but Stefano Pioli’s young side enjoyed a surprisingly comfortable evening as they strolled to victory.

Marko Pjaca opened the scoring after 18 minutes with his first goal for La Viola, before Nikola Milenkovic and Federico Chiesa added strikes either side of the break.

In the first game of the day, a sensational solo goal from Gervinho was the highlight of Parma’s 2-0 victory against Cagliari.

The former Arsenal winger brushed off three defenders as he ran the length of the pitch to double his side’s advantage following Roberto Inglese’s first-half strike.

Parma coach Roberto D’Aversa was stunned by the individual effort.

“I hadn’t seen a goal like that for years,” he said, while Cagliari manager Rolando Maran described the Ivorian as “unstoppable”.

James on target as Bayern ease past Schalke

Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich eased past Schalke 04 2-0 on Saturday to make it four wins out of four league matches for the champions while their opponents languish bottom of the standings.

Goals from James Rodriguez and a second-half Robert Lewandowski penalty lifted Bayern to 12 points, two ahead of second-placed Hertha Berlin, who crushed Borussia Moenchengladbach 4-2 thanks to a Vedad Ibisevic double. Pre-season title contenders Schalke have now lost all four Bundesliga matches and are anchored in last place.

"My team dominated for 90 minutes and allowed nothing in our own half," Bayern coach Niko Kovac told reporters.

"We created many chances but scored too few goals. But overall it was a great performance. We saw a really, really good Bundesliga game."

James put the visitors in front after eight minutes, powering his near-post header from a Joshua Kimmich corner past Schalke keeper Ralf Faehrmann. David Alaba rattled Faehrmann's crossbar a little later with a curled free kick as Bayern kept up the pressure and Schalke, last season's runners-up, stayed toothless.

Lille go second with win over Nantes, Toulouse held

Lille climbed to second place in French Ligue 1 with a 2-1 home victory over Nantes thanks to goals by Jose Fonte and Jonathan Ikone as Dijon and Toulouse were held to scoreless draws at Reims and Angers on Saturday.

Montpellier made the most of those stalemates to go third in the standings with a gritty 1-0 home win over Nice, Gaetan Laborde getting the goal when he rifled home a rebound from close range in the first half.

Strasbourg recovered from conceding a simple tap-in to Emil Krafth to beat Amiens 3-1, winger Kenny Lala starting the comeback with a stunning free kick from the left side of the penalty area.

Benjamin Corgnet added a second in the 66th minute before Khaled Adenon’s own goal rounded off the scoring to leave Amiens third from bottom.

St Etienne also had to come back from a goal down to beat Caen 2-1, Faycal Fajr giving the visitors the lead before Wahib Khazri equalised form the penalty spot, and defender Kolo secured all three points with a goal from a corner in the 65th minute.

In Sunday’s games, Rennes host leaders Paris St Germain, bottom side Guingamp entertain Girondins Bordeaux, who are one place above them, and Olympique de Marseille travel to Olympique Lyonnais.

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