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Winning start for PSG's Ancelotti
Published : 14 Jan 2012 22:16:36
Carlo Ancelotti made a winning league start to his tenure as coach of French giants Paris Saint Germain on Saturday as a brace from Brazilian Nene and a goal from Argentinian Javier Pastore swatted Toulouse 3-1 to keep the capital club top of the heap.
Nene struck the opener shortly before the break, then sandwiched an effort from Pastore at the Parc des Princes as the French league resumed following its winter break with Ancelotti overseeing new charges who appear on this evidence to be on course for a first title in 18 years.
The win moved the Parisians onto 43 points from 20 games - still three clear of dogged challengers Montpellier, who thanked a goal from Olivier Giroud for a precious 1-0 home win over fourth-placed Lyon.
Last week's narrow French Cup win over fifth division Locmine Toulouse represented Ancelotti's first real test but his men proved on their mettle to make it five wins in a row over their southern opponents on Saturday.
But with Ancelotti's South American stars clearly out to impress the outcome was never in doubt once Nene had enjoyed a slice of luck for the opener, which deflected in off Serbian defender Pavle Ninkov seven minutes before the interval.
That settled the nerves of the hosts - who failed to persuade David Beckham he should enjoy a career swansong at the Parc des Princes, where new signing from Barcelona Maxwell was unveiled for the first time.
Jeremy Menez returned from injury to get the nod ahead of an unfit Kevin Gameiro in attack and Menez and Mohamed Sissoko combined superbly down the left flank on 56 minutes for the second goal, which Pastore finished off stylishly, driving right-footed past visiting keeper Ali Ahamada.
Nene then chested the ball down after Toulouse failed to clear a lofted ball from Pastore, slalomed his way into the box before dispatching the third low past Ahamada to clinch the result - albeit the visitors had time to notch a late consolation as Daniel Braaten converted from close range.
Two straight draws had left Toulouse five points off the top four whereas PSG began the encounter three points clear of Montpellier.
Despite being top of the pile going into the end-of-year winter break PSG sacked Antoine Kombouare as coach and promptly prised former AC Milan and Chelsea handler Ancelotti to the French capital.
A reported annual salary of some seven million euros easily makes Ancelotti the best-paid coach in French football history and PSG's Qatari owners will expect a prompt return on their investment as the club chase down a first league title since 1994.
New faces remain in the frame with the January transfer window still open although PSG have failed to land Alexandre Pato from Milan.