Paris: Zlatan Ibrahimovic set up one goal and notched two more to break yet another scoring record as Ligue 1 leaders Paris Saint-Germain crushed 10-man Nice 3-0 on Friday.
Edinson Cavani got the opener for PSG at the Allianz Riviera before Nice had Niklas Hult sent off for conceding a penalty that Ibrahimovic scored just before half-time. That was his 86th Ligue 1 goal, allowing him to pass Mustapha Dahleb and go out on his own as PSG's all-time top scorer in the top flight of French football.
For good measure, the Swede scored again in the second half to secure the victory that puts Laurent Blanc's defending champions provisionally 16 points clear of second-placed Caen at the top of the table.
"We knew that record was going to fall. It was just a case of when, because he scores an enormous amount of goals and will continue to do so," Paris coach Laurent Blanc told beIN Sports. PSG are still unbeaten in Ligue 1 this season after 17 games and have not lost domestically since March, with only Barcelona and Real Madrid getting the better of them in the Champions League in that time.
The capital side had slipped up in midweek with a goalless draw at Angers and this was tipped to be one of their toughest tests of the campaign against a Nice team who lay fifth and had been scoring freely thanks to the influence of Hatem Ben Arfa.
The former Newcastle United winger was back in the Nice side after illness and almost put the hosts ahead on the half-hour mark when he turned away from Benjamin Stambouli before letting fly from 25 yards, only for his shot to flash just over the bar. Five minutes after that PSG took the lead, Ibrahimovic collecting possession outside the box, playing a one-two with Blaise Matuidi and then squaring for Cavani to roll in.
The game was then ended as a contest a minute before the break when Nice were reduced to 10 men, Hult receiving a straight red for bringing down his fellow Swede Ibrahimovic in the area. Ibrahimovic stepped up to score the resulting penalty and break the record of Dahleb, an Algerian who played for Paris in the 1970s and 1980s.
Already the club's all-time leading scorer and top scorer in European competition, it was another record for the 34-year-old, who has helped transform Paris since signing from AC Milan in 2012. Just for good measure, he got his second of the night just after the hour mark with a low finish at the near post from an Angel Di Maria assist.
That took him to 12 Ligue 1 goals for the campaign, making him the top scorer in France's top flight this season, one ahead of Lorient's Benjamin Moukandjo. It also raised the question of whether PSG will be tempted to offer him a new deal when his existing contract expires next summer.
"He has been, is and will perhaps continue to be capital in the project of the club. I think Thiago Silva, Thiago Motta and Ibrahimovic are the emblems of this PSG team," said Blanc. Second-placed Caen host Lille on Saturday after Lyon entertain Angers in what will be their final Ligue 1 game at the Stade de Gerland before they move into a new stadium in January.