Angel Di Maria and Giovani Lo Celso scored twice as PSG secured a fifth Ligue 1 title in six seasons on Sunday with a 7-1 rout of last year’s champions Monaco.
Unai Emery’s team blew Monaco away in a first-half blitz that saw PSG score four times in 14 minutes at the Parc des Princes with Lo Celso striking either side of goals from Edinson Cavani and Di Maria.
Rony Lopes pulled a goal back for Monaco as he scored for the eighth game in a row, but Di Maria added a fifth before Radamel Falcao turned into his own net and Julian Draxler struck late on as PSG romped to the club’s seventh championship.
“Other teams have more titles than us. Monaco, Nantes, Saint-Etienne, Marseille, Lyon…but we must keep on building,” Emery, who is likely to be replaced in the summer, told Canal+.
“There is a solid tool for the future, to remain number one in France and become that elsewhere with patience and hard work.”
With a fifth successive League Cup already won, PSG completed the second leg of a domestic treble – they are also through to the French Cup semi-finals – and could yet break their record 96-point haul from the 2015-16 campaign.
PSG also became the first team in Europe’s top leagues this season to reach 100 goals on a night they were without the injured Neymar and Kylian Mbappe, the teenager left on the bench after a bout of illness.
But a second successive last 16 exit in the Champions League means heads will roll at the end of this season in preparation for another attempt to muscle in among Europe’s elite.
“That defeat (to Real Madrid) hurt us but we continued to work with the players, the staff and the president who is always at our side,” said PSG captain Thiago Silva.
“It was a difficult moment but I think in the end it’s a good season. We have taken back our title but we must continue to work, we have a French Cup semi-final (against Caen) on Wednesday.”
Sidibe injury concern
Monaco arrived in Paris unbeaten on their last eight league visits to the capital but any prospect of them prolonging PSG’s wait for the title quickly eroded.
Kamil Glik’s absence in the heart of the visiting defence was acutely felt as Lo Celso started the move that resulted in the opening goal on 14 minutes, sauntering into the box to tap in a Dani Alves cross.
While Cavani’s second half of the campaign has proved less prolific than the blistering spell that yielded 19 goals before Christmas, the Uruguayan bagged his league-best 25th goal with a powerful header from a Yuri Berchiche cross.
Cavani then released Di Maria with a superb hooked pass from inside his own half and the Argentine raced clear before lifting an exquisite chip over the advancing Danijel Subasic.
Javier Pastore supplied Lo Celso to head in PSG’s fourth on 28 minutes and Monaco suffered further misfortune when France international Djibril Sidibe was stretchered off with a leg injury, a worrying sign for Didier Deschamps ahead of the World Cup.
— Paris Saint-Germain (@PSG_English) April 15, 2018
Monaco briefly held up the onslaught as Lopes turned home an Almamy Toure cross seven minutes before half-time for the in-form Portugal international’s 13th goal this term.
But PSG continued to attack at will and Pastore’s nonchalant assist for Di Maria allowed the winger to grab his second of the game on 59 minutes.
The hosts were gifted another goal when Falcao’s attempt to clear a corner went horribly wrong, summing up Monaco’s misery as the ball looped beyond Subasic on 77 minutes.
Germany international Draxler rounded out the demolition, firing home via a deflection as PSG clinched the title at home for the first since 1994 while shattering Monaco’s 17-match unbeaten run.
Monaco later tweeted that they would reimburse the fans who had made the fruitless trip to the capital.
When Paris Saint-Germain host Monaco on Sunday seeking to seal the Ligue 1 title, Alphonse Areola will be living his dream, but the young ‘keeper still faces challenges.
First, he has to keep out Monaco, who last season ended PSG’s run of four consecutive titles and this time sit second, 14 points behind with six rounds to play.
“Last year they took the title from us and that hurt us because this club is in the habit of winning the league every year,” the 25-year old said. “So it’s even more symbolic against them. We have the chance to bring the title back to Paris.”
“Last season a new coach and new players had come in and it was necessary to adapt,” he said. “This season we have gelled.”
He also wants outsiders to treat a French league title for PSG with respect.
“People are trivialising this title too much,” Areola said. “You have to be consistent and perform well over the entire season.”
Areola is a “child of the club.” His parents came to France from the Philippines and he was born and grew up in Paris, playing for the “Little Angels” youth team on the Left Bank before joining PSG at the age of 13.
“Playing for my club, that’s exceptional and I’m clearly living my dream,” he said. “Now, chasing trophies, that’s even better.
Areola went out on loan for three consecutive seasons at Lens, Bastia and Villarreal. He returned last season and was initially behind the German Kevin Trapp. Areola took over and kept four clean sheets in eight games but then came a disastrous run when he let in 10 goals on 11 shots as PSG failed to win in three straight league games in December.
“I had no doubts, doubt is a big word and it’s for the weak, let’s say,” he said. “I continued to work. I did not let go. Some might have gone down, but I’m proud to say that I managed to come through it.”
This season Areola has become the regular starter but he is not an established star of the sort PSG covet.
Atletico Madrid’s Jan Oblak, Milan’s teenage phenomenon Gianluigi Donnarumma and Chelsea’s Thibaut Courtois are among the many rumoured to be on their way to supplant Areola.
“If the club is looking for someone else, that’s not my choice,” he said. “But if they announce someone else is coming in, I will be even more motivated.”
PSG’s spending means Areola is playing behind one of the most expensive lineups in football history after the club added Neymar, Dani Alves and Kylian Mbappe last summer.
“It brings even more renown to the club when great players come in, even if there have been always very, very great players here,” he said. “But the arrival of two experienced players, and one who is going to become a force was a plus for the club.”
Those players were bought with the Champions League in mind, but after edging Bayern Munich to win their group, PSG were eliminated in the first knock out round by the two-time defending champions.
“We won our group, which was the objective, but then we were drawn against Real Madrid,” he said “They have the experience in this competition. I’m not saying we don’t, but they have the habit of winning. That was perhaps the difference.”
Areola has been called up to the French squad by Didier Deschamps, although he has yet to make an appearance he is likely to make the cut for the France squad going to the World Cup this summer.
“I believe in my ability to be in the 23,” he said. “But nothing can be taken for granted… until the list is out, I will not be sure.”
“To be part of the squad is already huge and to be part of the 23 going to the World Cup would be even more magnificent.”
Hugo Lloris, who has 96 caps, and Steve Mandanda (26 caps) were the other two goalies in the last France squad in March.
“I am behind two legends.”
Asked if the Brazilian contingent were the most likely to bring World Cup medals back to PSG, Areola laughed.
“No. Us, the French. There are some nice teams but, look, I am French and I am for the team.”
Provided by AFP Sport