PARIS (AP) — Paris Saint-Germain extended to five points its provisional lead in the French league with a 2-1 victory over Nancy on Saturday despite another mediocre performance against weaker opposition.
Second-place Lyon can cut the gap back to two when it hosts third-place Marseille on Sunday. PSG recently lost to Sochaux and Reims and looked in danger of losing a third game in three weeks to a team fighting relegation when Nancy winger Benjamin Moukandjo opened the scoring with a header in the 36th minute.
But Zlatan Ibrahimovic equalized in the 59th before chasing a long ball from Marco Verratti to net the winner in the 62nd. David Beckham was again on the bench for PSG, but came on for Verratti in the 73rd.
"Those are not easy matches. We must play them with the right attitude," PSG goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu said. "The first half reminded me of what we went through in Reims. Fortunately, we reacted well in the second half."
Nancy slipped to the bottom of the standings. Also, it was: Valenciennes 1, Lille 3; Ajaccio 1, Lorient 0; Brest 0, Toulouse 1; Evian 5, Sochaux 1; and Troyes 4, Reims 2. PSG dominated the first half but failed to convert its chances.
The visitors capitalized on a turnover in the 36th. Djamel Bakar intercepted a pass from PSG playmaker Javier Pastore to feed Moukandjo, whose low strike was saved by Sirigu, but he pounced on the rebound to head home.
Pastore was replaced by coach Carlo Ancelotti with Jeremy Menez at halftime. Things got worse for PSG in the 55th when Lucas Moura injured his ankle and was replaced by Kevin Gameiro. But Nancy paid the price for two lapses of concentration. Sebastien Puygrenier failed to control the ball with his chest and Menez passed it to Ibrahimovic, who beat Nancy keeper Damien Gregorini.
Ibrahimovic showed flair in the 62nd. Gregorini came off his line to intercept a long ball from Verratti, but the keeper missed his clearance, allowing Ibrahimovic to slot into an empty net for his 24th goal in the league this season.
PSG had a scare in the closing minutes as a shot from Nancy substitute Florent Zitte deflected off Thiago Silva to bounce off the post. "Games after the Champions League are very difficult because we don't have the same energy," Ancelotti said. "But we managed to show a lot of character and energy in the second half to win this important match."
PSG drew 1-1 with Valencia on Wednesday to qualify for the Champions League quarterfinals. Meanwhile, Lille won its fifth straight game in the league to make up ground in the race for a European spot and pull within two points of fourth-place Saint-Etienne.
Midfielder Maor Melikson put Valenciennes ahead in the 24th. But Lille was clinical on set-pieces from Marvin Martin. Ronny Rodelin levelled by nodding home a corner in the 55th before striker Tulio De Melo outjumped the Valenciennes defense to head in another corner in the 82nd. Lille sealed the win with a lob from Benoit Pedretti in the 90th.
"We've scored 13 goals in five games, so our offense is prolific. That helps to win matches and have a winning streak," Lille coach Rudi Garcia said. "If we're able to maintain that run, we will climb in the standings and catch the teams in front of us."
In Ajaccio, Ronald Zubar netted the lone goal for the Corsican club with a long-range effort in the 75th. Loaned by PSG, teenager Adrien Rabiot scored for Toulouse with a swerving shot on the stroke of halftime.
In the battle for survival, Evian moved out of the relegation zone to be level on points with Sochaux. Troyes also kept alive its hopes of escaping relegation with two goals from 17-year-old Corentin Jean.
On Friday, Saint-Etienne drew 2-2 with Rennes. On Sunday, Montpellier visits Nice and Bordeaux faces Bastia.