PARIS (AP) — Zlatan Ibrahimovic scored twice on his return from suspension to help Paris Saint-Germain get back to winning ways with a 4-0 victory over struggling Troyes in the French league on Saturday.
Ibrahimovic also set up the other two goals for Maxwell and Blaise Matuidi before netting his first in the 70th minute. The Sweden striker doubled his tally in the 89th, with his 12th league goal of the season.
"That's normal," PSG coach Carlo Ancelotti said. "Ibra is a player with a lot of talent. He's the most important element of this team, but we shouldn't always think that we can only win the match with Ibrahimovic. Behind him, there has to be a solid team."
PSG's first win in four league games follows two losses and a draw. It had slipped to third in the standings after losing to nine-man Rennes last weekend, but was back in top spot provisionally. "I'm happy because it's been a good week," Ancelotti said. "We had a good reaction after the Rennes defeat. It's a vital week for the future of the team and the club.
"We didn't want to play at too high a level, because we played Wednesday night and only got back Thursday. That's not enough time to have a lot of energy. That's why we decided to play more defensively and go on the counterattack. It was calculated."
PSG was desperate for a win at Parc des Princes after losing its past two home games, and welcomed Ibrahimovic back from a two-match suspension for a red card. It started brightly and Troyes goalkeeper Yohann Thuram-Ulien pulled off good saves to deny Matuidi and Ibrahimovic.
PSG took the lead in the 17th when Ibrahimovic beat Rincon on the right flank and his cross was deflected to Maxwell, who fired home from close range. PSG goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu was called into action for the first time five minutes from the interval and he did well to stop a low shot from on-loan PSG striker Christophe Bahebeck on the line.
Troyes should have had a penalty minutes later when Bahebeck was brought down by Marco Verratti but the referee waved play on and, with the visitors still protesting, PSG almost doubled its lead but Thuram-Ulien again did well to snatch the ball off Lavezzi's feet.
PSG got its second shortly after the hour mark on the counterattack, as Ibrahimovic released Matuidi who sped forward before firing in off the post. Ibrahimovic scored his first seven minutes later. Nene found himself in acres of space and he picked out Ibrahimovic to unleash a powerful effort which flew in under the crossbar.
Marcos almost grabbed one back for Troyes in stunning fashion in the 83rd but Sirigu pulled off a great save to tip the Brazilian's overhead kick over the bar. Ibrahimovic doubled his tally when Lavezzi raced down the right flank and into the area before crossing for the former AC Milan striker to tap home.
Troyes remains second from bottom, but is only a point above Nancy, which drew 1-1 with AC Ajaccio. Djamel Bakar gave Nancy the perfect start when he fired it in front in the eighth minute but Adrian Mutu leveled from the penalty spot 16 minutes from time after Romain Grange handled in the area.
Mutu had earlier sent a free kick crashing off the left upright. Evian was out of the relegation zone after beating Rennes 1-0. Zouhaier Dhaouadi scored the only goal of the game. Fellow strugglers Bastia also won, triumphing 2-1 against Lorient despite playing almost the entire match with 10 men after Anthony Modeste was harshly sent off in the 12th minute for a tackle on Kevin Monnet-Paquet.
Modeste opened the scoring seconds earlier. Lamine Kone headed in the equalizer about 30 minutes in before Wahbi Khazri scored what was to prove the winner three minutes later. Nice won 1-0 at Sochaux thanks to Daroo Cvitanich's spot kick at the end of the first half after Roy Contout handled a free kick.
Elsewhere, Reims drew 0-0 at home to Brest.