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article imagePSG win again ahead of Chelsea showdown

By Andy Scott (AFP)     Mar 28, 2014 in World

Paris Saint-Germain warmed up for their Champions League showdown with Chelsea by recording a narrow 1-0 win at Nice on Friday that took them another step closer to the Ligue 1 title.

For the second week in a row, the reigning French champions were some way short of their flowing best, but a solitary second-half goal, credited as an own goal by Nice full-back Timothee Kolodziejczak, saw them to victory by the same score as at Lorient seven days earlier.

PSG's club record-breaking sequence of consecutive wins now stretches to nine and they have also gone five straight matches without conceding a goal in Ligue 1 as they open up a provisional 13-point lead at the top of the table over Monaco, who visit Evian on Saturday.

The capital side have struggled frequently in Nice in recent years and were beaten 2-1 at the old Stade du Ray last season, but their mid-table hosts lacked the cutting edge to repeat the feat at their impressive new Allianz Riviera home.

With one eye on Chelsea, PSG coach Laurent Blanc left Alex, Maxwell, Blaise Matuidi and Marco Verratti on the bench at kick-off, but captain Thiago Silva started with a mask protecting the cheekbone he fractured against Lorient.

Nice's entire starting line-up had scored nine goals fewer between them than Zlatan Ibrahimovic, indicating the size of task awaiting Claude Puel's men, and their evening got off to a bad start when the eagle that is their symbol shied out of its pre-match flight around the stadium, opting to hide beneath the roof instead.

They were lucky not to fall behind in the opening 15 minutes as Ezequiel Lavezzi twice missed the target for the visitors when well placed and Yohan Cabaye's sweetly-struck 30-yard effort swerved inches wide of the top right-hand corner.

Nice did have the ball in the net at the other end, but top scorer Dario Cvitanich's header was correctly ruled out for offside, leaving the Argentine still with just one league goal to his name since early November.

The game raged from end to end in the opening period, but PSG 'keeper Salvatore Sirigu was never seriously tested while opposite number David Ospina made two excellent saves from Edinson Cavani and Ibrahimovic before also denying Silva just before the half-time whistle.

Nice were looking to build on a run of three games without defeat but they fell behind nine minutes into the second half.

Javier Pastore's flighted ball into the box was headed on by Ibrahimovic towards Cavani, but it was Kolodziejczak who turned it into his own net as he tried to prevent Cavani from scoring what would have been his 15th of the campaign.

PSG might have scored again when Lucas Digne fired the ball towards goal with Ospina on the ground but Mathieu Bodmer got back to clear from just in front of the line.

And they held on to take the three points, with Nice only threatening to equalise from two Eric Bautheac free-kicks, one that flew over and another that was boxed away by Sirigu.

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