PARIS (AP) — Paris Saint-Germain geared up for its Champions League tie against Bayer Leverkusen by defeating Valenciennes 3-0 Friday to extend its lead to eight points in the French league.
Argentina winger Ezequiel Lavezzi beat goalkeeper Nicolas Penneteau in the 18th minute before Sweden striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic volleyed home in the 50th to notch his 19th league goal this season.
The hosts made it 3-0 with an own goal from Valenciennes defender Gary Kagelmacher in the 52nd.
"The players had the Champions League on their minds but they managed to focus on tonight's French league game," PSG coach Laurent Blanc told BeIn Sport television.
PSG remained the only side still undefeated at home in the league.
On Saturday, it's Bastia vs. Monaco; Lorient vs. Toulouse; Nice vs. Nantes; Reims vs. Bordeaux; Rennes vs. Montpellier; and Sochaux vs. Guingamp.
On Sunday, Lyon hosts Ajaccio, Marseille visits Saint-Etienne and Lille faces Evian.
Stuck in the relegation zone, Valenciennes fielded a defensive 5-3-2 system in the hope of containing PSG's potent offense. But the hosts pressed high up the pitch to dominate possession and put Valenciennes on the back foot in the opening minutes.
Kagelmacher cleared off the line a backheel flick from Ibrahimovic in the fourth minute. Penneteau then parried PSG captain Thiago Silva's header from a cross by Lucas Digne in the ninth.
PSG finally converted its domination into a goal when Ibrahimovic's free kick crashed into the Valenciennes wall. The rebound fell to Lavezzi, who shot past Penneteau from 10 yards.
Lavezzi nearly doubled the lead in the following minute, but failed to convert a low cross from fullback Gregory Van der Wiel from five yards. Lavezzi, whose uncle was murdered Tuesday in Argentina, also had a powerful strike blocked by defender Saliou Ciss in the eighth minute and an angled shot turned around the post by Penneteau in the 24th. Penneteau limited the damage by denying Ibrahimovic in the 36th.
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