PSG look to extend lead as strike action looms

The action in France's Ligue 1 this weekend looks set to be overshadowed by the announcement that French football clubs will soon hold a strike in protest against a 75 percent tax rate. On the pitch however PSG head to Saint-Etienne looking to stretch their lead at the top of Ligue 1.

PSG look to extend lead as strike action looms
Champions Paris Saint-Germain are looking to stretch their lead at the top of Ligue 1, but the on-pitch action could be overshadowed by a looming strike by clubs. Photo: Franck Fife/AFP

Paris Saint-Germain will look to consolidate their Ligue 1 lead this weekend as French football braces itself for a strike over a controversial supertax.

French clubs are furious over government plans to tax top earners 75 percent.

There will be a first lockdown in the professional game since 1972, scheduled for the last weekend of November, after a unanimous vote against Socialist President Francois Hollande's controversial supertax initiative.

According to Ligue 1 teams, the new law, if implemented next year, would leave them with a €44 million ($61 million) tax bill and keep foreign talent away.

On the pitch, Swedish star Zlatan Ibrahimovic hit a majestic four goals during PSG's 5-0 humiliation of Belgian side Anderlecht in midweek, as shown in this short video.

The 32-year-old has now scored 10 goals in his last five matches as Laurent Blanc's side continue their near perfect start to the season.

His form has hit new heights as the capital club stand on the brink of the Champions League knockout phase, and have a two-point lead to protect heading into Sunday's away fixture at Saint-Etienne.

"He is in excellent form and scoring lots of goals," said PSG coach Laurent Blanc.

"But what I really appreciate is he is more and more involved in the play and he is very difficult to mark.

"I had the chance to play with some great players and he is a great player. He is like a locomotive for the others and pulls everyone to greater heights."

Are challengers Monaco and Marseille falling away?

Monaco are the only other unbeaten side in the league but coach Claudio Ranieri must rally the troops for Sunday's home match against Lyon after being held 2-2 by lowly Sochaux in their last outing.

Questions have cropped up over Monaco's title credentials despite six wins in ten matches and after throwing away a two-goal lead at Herve Renard's revamped Sochaux side, the match against struggling Lyon takes on added importance.

Last season's runners-up Marseille have seen their season nosedive after losing 1-0 at Nice last week and crashing to a third straight Champions League defeat against Napoli on Tuesday.

Elie Baup's side have fallen seven points off the pace and have already suffered three domestic defeats but a home match against lower table Reims on Saturday may be the remedy to get back to winning ways.

"What is important for me, after this series of results is to get back to success and do it in style," said Baup.

"After the Napoli match, I got back to work, we had meeting and worked hard in training. We have to keep working and we washed our dirty laundry amongst our family.

"We've got to take the bull by the horns and throw ourselves even harder into the upcoming matches."

Bordeaux, who won the 2008 title under Blanc, have also seen their fortunes turn sour and they come into their home match against Montpellier sixth from bottom and only four points above the relegation zone.

Renard has already enhanced his reputation after inspiring Sochaux's comeback last week and the 45-year-old, who memorably led Zambia to their first African championship in 2012, will relish the trip to a Lorient side just one point above them, near the foot of the table.

Fixtures (all times 8pm unless stated)


Nantes v Lille (8.30pm)


Marseille v Reims (5pm), Lorient v Sochaux, Toulouse v Rennes,

Guingamp v Ajaccio, Bastia v Nice, Valenciennes v Evian


Bordeaux v Montpellier (2pm), Monaco v Lyon (5pm), Saint-Etienne v Paris Saint-Germain (9pm)

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Shock as PSG finally lose a game in Ligue 1

PSG's hopes of going the whole season unbeaten were dashed on Sunday when Lyon handed them a 2-1 defeat. But the French Champions still have an unassailable lead at the top of Ligue 1.

Shock as PSG finally lose a game in Ligue 1
Heads bowed as PSG finally lose. Photo: AFP

Lyon stunned Paris Saint-Germain 2-1 on Sunday to end the defending champions' hopes of becoming the first French team to
avoid defeat for a whole league season.

Young forward Maxwell Cornet stroked Bruno Genesio's men into a surprise early lead and Lyon deservedly made it two through Sergi Darder's wonderfully-taken goal on the stroke of half-time.

Lucas Moura pulled one back for the runaway league leaders, but Lyon held on for a famous victory that moves them into the top three.

For PSG this was a first league loss since a 3-2 defeat at Bordeaux in March 2015, although they remain 23 points clear of Monaco at the top of the table.

Manager Laurent Blanc admitted that his side were off the pace and did not deserve to take anything from the game.

“We were too average, myself included,” he told Canal+. “Lyon were in a better state of mind. Were we not at our best? I don't know, we must regroup.”

“We expected a difficult game, but not as hard. I took off a player at half-time (Benjamin Stambouli), I could have made more changes,” he admitted.

Lyon manager Genesio wants his team's display to help them kick on for the rest of the campaign.

“The game counts for three points, but of course beating PSG makes it more satisfying,” he said.

“What pleased me? The way we implented the plan, with the will to press them high. Certainly, we were up against one of the best teams in Europe, but we need to repeat this performance until the end of the season.”

PSG were looking to extend their record unbeaten league streak to 37 matches, but Lyon started the stronger at Parc OL and they forged ahead in the 13th minute.

Alexandre Lacazette picked out 19-year-old Cornet, who displayed good footwork to cut inside Gregory van der Wiel, before curling confidently into the far corner to grab his third Ligue 1 goal.

The visitors are not used to being behind and their frustration boiled over when Thiago Motta appeared to strike Jordan Ferri in the face, with the Italian fortunate to escape with just a yellow card.

On the day that Silva spoke of suffering a bout of depression in the aftermath of Brazil's World Cup thrashing at the hands of Germany two years ago, he was embarrassed by Darder in first half injury-time.

Despite Rafael's cross being slightly behind Darder, the Spanish midfielder flicked the ball over the head of centre-back Silva with his first touch, and coolly steered home past Kevin Trapp with his second.

Lucas goal not enough

With the unbeaten run close to coming to an end Blanc responded by sending on Javier Pastore for Benjamin Stambouli at the interval.

The substitute was instrumental in creating space in the Lyon penalty area as the away side pulled one back less than six minutes into the second period.

Pastore was crowded out by a group of home defenders, but the ball broke kindly for Brazilian Lucas, who bent his shot just inside the far post.

Lyon went straight up the other end and could have restored their two-goal cushion, only for Ferri to side-foot wide.

It was by far the busiest outing for Trapp since his move to Paris last summer and the German made an excellent point-blank save with his legs to keep out Rachid Ghezzal.

But last season's runners-up closed out a fourth win in five games with ease to move into the third and final Champions League place and become the first team to beat PSG domestically in almost a year.

Monaco were held to a goalless draw by in-form Nantes as Caen reignited their unlikely Champions League push with a 2-1 win at Saint-Etienne.

Monaco are eight points clear in second but the six teams directly below are separated by just two points in the race for third place.

Meanwhile, Marseille's match away to Gazelec Ajaccio was postponed due to the inclement weather in Corsica.