Lucas lifts PSG before City showdown

 10 Apr 2016 - 0:00

Lucas lifts PSG before City showdown
Paris St Germain's Lucas Moura celebrates with his team mate Layvin Kurzawa after scoring against Guingamp. REUTERS/Stephane Mahe

Paris: A second-half brace by Lucas Moura handed a shadow Paris Saint-Germain side a 2-0 win away to Guingamp on Saturday as the Ligue 1 champions warmed up for their decisive date with Manchester City.

The Brazilian opened the scoring with a penalty 11 minutes into the second half and struck again in the 71st minute as PSG triumphed in a game that coach Laurent Blanc had more or less admitted was an inconvenience he could have done without.

PSG go to England for the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final on Tuesday up against it after a 2-2 draw in Paris last Wednesday.

With that trip in mind, and with Paris having already secured a fourth consecutive French title last month, Blanc sent out an almost unrecognisable starting line-up in Brittany against opponents who began the day six points above the relegation zone.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Angel Di Maria, Thiago Silva, Thiago Motta, Edinson Cavani and Maxwell were all rested, with goalkeeper Kevin Trapp and captain for the day Blaise Matuidi the only players retained from the side that started at home to City.

Matuidi will not play in England due to suspension, while the presence of Trapp must be in doubt after he came off at half-time, with Salvatore Sirigu taking his place, following a collision with team-mate Layvin Kurzawa.

Trapp hurt his knee after crashing into Kurzawa, who was left with what looked like a broken nose but was able to carry on.

The changes meant PSG were not their usual fearsome selves and a Guingamp side unbeaten in their last three outings had the best chances in the first period.

However, Jimmy Briand had an effort disallowed for offside before Mevlut Erding, sliding in, failed to make contact with a low Jonathan Martins Pereira cross that was asking to be turned in.

Instead, PSG took the lead early in the second half, Lucas rolling home the spot-kick after a foul inside the box by Jeremy Sorbon on the 18-year-old Christopher Nkunku.

Kurzawa set up the second goal, playing a one-two with Matuidi down the left and picking out Lucas, who took a touch before slotting low past Jonas Loessl for his eighth in the league this season.

Blanc will need Lucas on similar form against City, with the Brazilian a contender to start due to the absences of Marco Verratti and Javier Pastore leaving Angel Di Maria as the leading contender to line up in midfield.

Elsewhere in France, Maxwell Cornet's brace gave Lyon a 2-0 victory at Montpellier on Friday that saw last season's runners-up leapfrog Monaco into second spot before the rest of the weekend's matches.

Monaco face a tough test at in-form Lille on Sunday, while fourth visits fifth as Rennes travel to Nice later the same day.

Saint-Etienne, in sixth, can boost their own European chances with a win when they entertain already-relegated Troyes later on Saturday.

AFP