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PSG thrashes Toulouse to go three points clear

Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored his league- best 20th goal of the season on Friday as Paris Saint-Germain went three points clear at the top of Ligue 1 with a 4-0 thrashing of Toulouse at the Stade Municipal de Toulouse.

The visitors opened the scoring just four minutes into the contest when Ezequiel Lavezzi collected a ball on the right wing and lofted a cross into the box for Javier Pastore, who hammered it home on the half-volley for the early advantage.

Nine minutes from the intermission the capital club made it 2-0 when Lucas sent a right-footed cross into the penalty area and Ibrahimovic nodded it into the bottom left corner of the net past the outstretched arm of Toulouse goalkeeper Ali Ahamada.

Just three minutes later things got worse for Toulouse when defender Cheikh M'Bengue was shown a second yellow card, reducing the hosts to 10 men.

In the second half PSG took advantage of having the extra man with 20 minutes to play as Mamadou Sakho got on the end of another cross from Lucas and powered a header into the bottom left corner.

Les Rouge-et-Bleu capped the scoring through substitute Gregory Van der Wiel, who came on in the 66th minute and slotted a left-footed shot into the bottom right corner six minutes after his introduction.

PSG ran its winning streak against Toulouse to eight consecutive matches and has not allowed a goal in its last eight league contests.

Toulouse remains in 10th place on 31 points with the defeat.

Fourth-place Rennes kicks off Saturday's slate of matches when it travels to Lorient looking to extend its unbeaten run to three consecutive games. Midfielder Alou Diarra could feature for Rennes after returning to his home country on loan from West Ham.

Evian will attempt to put an end to a five-game winless run in league play when it heads to the Stade de l'Abbe-Deschamps to tangle with Bastia, while Bordeaux will look to climb up the table when it hosts Valenciennes at the Stade Chaban-Delmas.

Elsewhere on Saturday, Nice tries to bounce back from a 1-0 setback against Bordeaux when it travels to the Stade Francis-Le Ble to battle Brest. Lille will look to snap a three-game winless streak when it hosts relegation- battling Troyes at the Grand Stade Lille Metropole.

Mid-table side St. Etienne will try to extend its unbeaten streak to four games when Les Verts travel to the Stade Auguste Bonal to face Sochaux. Midfielder Mathieu Bodmer could make his debut for St. Etienne after joining the club on loan from PSG on Thursday.

On Sunday, defending Ligue 1 champions Montpellier look to build on a 2-0 win over Sochaux when the club takes on Reims at the Stade de la Mosson, while third-place Marseille takes on Nancy looking to avoid defeat for the third straight contest.

Lyon will try to pull even with PSG and earn a second consecutive victory when it takes on 15th-place Ajaccio, which is looking for its first win in five league matches.