By Tom Williams (AFP) – Apr 22, 2012
PARIS — Paris Saint-Germain closed to within two points of Ligue 1 leaders Montpellier by overwhelming second-bottom Sochaux 6-1 at a sun-splashed Parc des Princes on Sunday.
Goals from Thiago Motta and Jeremy Menez put PSG 3-1 up at half-time, after Modibo Maiga had cancelled out Javier Pastore's opener for the hosts.
Nene claimed a second-half brace before substitute Sylvain Armand got on the score-sheet in injury time as Paris recorded their most emphatic win of the season.
"We completely changed our attitude, and this was the right one," said PSG coach Carlo Ancelotti, who had criticised his players after their 1-1 draw at Auxerre.
"We looked after the ball very well and we created lots of chances."
Montpellier had pulled five points clear after defeating Valenciennes the day before but although PSG remain within striking distance, they face an awkward trip to defending champions Lille next weekend.
"The next match might be the key to the season," added Ancelotti.
"It'll be a very important week for the top three teams. Perhaps even the most important week of the season."
Ancelotti elected to deploy a fluid 4-3-3 formation with Nene, Menez and Pastore occupying the three attacking berths and it was Pastore who broke the deadlock in the sixth minute, slamming home with his left foot after a one-two with Nene.
Sochaux responded six minutes later, Maiga beating PSG goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu to Marvin Martin's lofted pass to head home and score for the fifth league game in succession.
Maiga hit the post from Ryad Boudebouz's knockdown at the end of a sweeping Sochaux move in the 21st minute, before Motta converted Nene's left-wing free-kick to restore the hosts' lead and claim his first goal for the club.
Menez made it 3-1 shortly before half-time, glancing home at the near post after Pastore freed Siaka Tiene on the PSG left.
Sochaux's hopes of a comeback were erased by a quick-fire Nene brace just before the hour.
The Brazilian made it 4-1 in the 55th minute by volleying home Christophe Jallet's deep cross and took his personal tally to 16 league goals this season five minutes later after skipping around Sochaux goalkeeper Teddy Richert.
Armand added another at the death, gathering Pastore's pass and rolling the ball inside Richert's left-hand post.
Defeat left Sochaux 19th but they are only a point from safety with five games of the season remaining.
Lyon sustained their faint hopes of playing in next season's Champions League by fighting back from two goals down to beat Lorient 3-2 at Stade Gerland, allowing them to return to within six points of third-placed Lille.
After Kevin Monnet-Paquet and Mathias Autret had each exploited holes in Lyon's offside trap to put Lorient 2-0 up, Lyon skipper Cris pulled a goal back with an adroit volley in the 38th minute.
Lisandro Lopez drilled home a low shot to make it 2-2 in the 77th minute and then substitute Bafetimbi Gomis pounced at a corner to complete the comeback and lift Lyon above Rennes into fourth.
"I was worried at 2-0, but I told the players at half-time that there was a chance to come back," said Lyon coach Remi Garde, whose side meet third-tier Quevilly in the French Cup final next Saturday.
Elsewhere on Sunday, Ajaccio crept out of the relegation zone at the expense of Brest following a goalless draw at home to Nancy.
Montpellier maintained their grip on top spot by beating Valenciennes 1-0 on Saturday courtesy of an early goal from Souleymane Camara.
Lille held their course for third place by winning 2-0 at Dijon, despite the first-half dismissal of Idrissa Gueye.
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