Persistence pays off for Cavani as he scores PSG's winner

PARIS: Thankfully for Paris Saint-Germain, Edinson Cavani's persistence finally paid off as he scored the winner in a 1-0 victory at Lille on Friday.

It was a vital goal, moving second-place PSG within three points of leader Nice, which will be confident of beating struggling Nantes at home on Sunday.

Cavani anticipated Angel Di Maria's clever pass from the left and chested it down brilliantly, before swiveling to fire powerfully past goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama in the 64th minute.

If only all his finishing was so good.

Prior to his league-leading 10th goal this season, the Uruguay striker squandered three chances, keeping in line with his wasteful performance last Sunday when he missed an open goal in a 0-0 home draw with Marseille.

But he at least has the gift of being in the right place and, despite his eccentric finishing, never hides.

After a shaky start, PSG controlled the first half but failed to capitalise, although Di Maria had a goal ruled out for a debatable handball.

Di Maria's last league goal was on April 16 and he was jeered by PSG's fans for his poor performance against Marseille.

But he was fired up for this match.

In the 17th he had a shot saved by Enyeama and Cavani scuffed the rebound from a narrow angle.

Four minutes later, Di Maria missed another chance, but then thought he had scored one minute later.

Enyeama rushed off his line but Di Maria got there first and, following a rebound off the goalie's body, poked the ball into the net.

It was hard to tell from television replays if the ball had made any contact with Di Maria's arm as he ran through.

While PSG midfielders Blaise Matuidi and Thiago Motta insisted that it was a goal, referee Benoit Bastien checked with his linesman and the decision stood to disallow it.

Di Maria set up Cavani for two further chances in the first half, but he shot wildly over both times.

It was a heated first half, with PSG coach Unai Emery arguing with his Lille counterpart Frederic Antonetti, and PSG captain Thiago Silva and Enyeama arguing in the tunnel at halftime.

Lille pressured for an equaliser, but midfielder Younousse Sankhare — who started his career at PSG — somehow missed from close range.