Paris Saint-Germain will likely finish 2012 top of Ligue 1 after securing a 3-0 victory over Brest at Stade Francis-Le Ble.
Although Zlatan Ibrahimovic found home goalkeeper Alexis Thebault in outstanding form, the Swede broke the deadlock in the second half after the hosts had been reduced to 10 men on 35 minutes when Abdou Sissoko was dismissed. Kevin Gameiro secured the points with quarter of an hour remaining, and an injury-time own goal which came after Christophe Jallet's shot was wickedly deflected made it three.
From the outset it was the capital side that dominated the encounter, although it took it some time to really test Thebault, who produced a string of terrific saves. The former Caen goalkeeper did particularly well to thwart Thiago Silva and Ibrahimovic with a terrific double save midway through the first half.
Until Sissoko was shown a straight red card for a two-footed challenge on Ezequiel Lavezzi, the home team had been doing a relatively good job of quelling its opponent, but reduced to 10, it found life increasingly difficult.
It survived a dangerous 10-minute spell before the break, but only thanks to its goalkeeper, who denied both Pastore and Ibrahimovic.
Immediately after the restart PSG raised the tempo. Within 60 seconds Christophe Jallet had a fierce drive tipped away, but a breakthrough was always on the cards, and when the right back delivered a pin-point cross for Ibrahimovic, the Swede tucked the ball away neatly at the near post.
Within a minute, Lavezzi had danced his way round a challenge in the box only to shoot wide when clean through, while Thibault was at his best to thwart Ibrahimovic when the Swede escaped the defence down the left channel.
Even without the comfort of a two-goal cushion, there was an element of showboating from the visitors, and in particular their Swedish star, whose outrageous flying backheel would have made highlight reels for years to come had it not flown a foot wide of the post.
Ultimately, the second goal inevitably arrived. Pastore, who had gone close shortly before, created room for Thiago Motta to strike at goal, and though his shot was beaten away by Thebault, the custodian was helpless as the rebound was fired home by Gameiro.
In stoppage time, Jallet's effort deflected off Bernand Mendy before finding the net, with Brest having gone close to a consolation in the moments before.
This may not have been a tour de force to finish the year from PSG, but it was another encouraging performance from the capital club, which will only fail to win Ligue 1’s symbolic autumn champion title if Lyon or Marseille win over the weekend by a seemingly impossible margin.
PSG boss Carlo Ancelotti will feel his side should have won by more, yet the year nevertheless ended on a very satisfactory note as Les Parisiens became the first team to shut Brest out at Stade Francis-Le Ble this term.
Follow GOAL.COM on Twitter
- Sports & Recreation
- Zlatan Ibrahimovic
- Christophe Jallet