PARIS — Winger Ezequiel Lavezzi grabbed a hat trick and striker Edinson Cavani scored twice as Paris Saint-Germain bounced back from its lackluster performance against Barcelona by thrashing Lille 6-1 to move three points ahead of Lyon at the top of the French league on Saturday.
PSG also boosted its goal difference to close that gap on Lyon, which has a marginally better goal difference and can move back to the top if it wins away at Reims on Sunday.
"It's our best performance of the season," midfielder Blaise Matuidi said. "It's important to get six goals because Lyon scores a lot."
League Cup winner PSG remains on course for an unprecedented domestic treble and will be looking to plunder more goals on Tuesday when it plays its game in hand at home to 19th-place Metz.
"Winning the treble is a big motivation for us, it would be historic and that's why we're playing for PSG," Matuidi said. "We'll keep going like this, without getting carried away. We're playing Metz, which is fighting to stay up, so it won't be easy."
PSG was comprehensively beaten 5-1 on aggregate by Barcelona in the Champions League quarterfinals, but against a very poor Lille side scored twice inside the first four minutes.
"We regret how we played against Barcelona, but that's in the past now and we have to win the two trophies remaining," Matuidi said. PSG will be heavy favorite when it faces second-division Auxerre in the French Cup final next month.
Brazilian left back Maxell scored after 24 seconds when he turned in Serge Aurier's cross from the right with a neat first-time shot for the quickest goal in PSG's league history — two seconds faster than Zlatan Ibrahimovic's goal two seasons ago. Marseille striker Andre-Pierre Gignac's goal after 20 seconds against Evian is the quickest this season.
Attacking midfielder Javier Pastore then played Cavani through with a superb pass and the Uruguay forward's brilliant lob from the edge of the penalty area sailed over goalkeeper Vincent Enyeama.
Cavani missed good chances in the first leg of PSG's 3-1 defeat against Barcelona in the Champions League quarterfinal, and was totally anonymous in the second leg on Tuesday, but he ran Lille's defense ragged.
Midfielder Thiago Motta picked out Cavani galloping down the right in the 29th and he squared the ball to Lavezzi for the third goal.
Lavezzi grabbed his second in the 44th with Cavani and Matuidi combining to set him up for a close-range volley.
PSG goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu limped off injured shortly after, replaced by Nicolas Douchez, and right back Serge Aurier — only recently back from injury — also went off just before the interval.
PSG has been hit by injury problems all season and was without captain Thiago Silva, who watched from the stands alongside Ibrahimovic, who was sitting out the second game of his three-game ban.
"(Sirigu) has a peculiar injury, from what I've heard his boot was bothering him and it's a heel problem," PSG coach Laurent Blanc said. "Aurier seems to have a bit of a thigh problem, but the doctor knows better than me."
Defender Marko Basa pulled a goal back when he headed in from a corner in the 59th, but the visitors finished the match with 10 players after right back Sebastian Corchia was sent off for fouling Lavezzi in the 71st.
Cavani converted the penalty and Lavezzi completed his hat trick in the 77th, drilling a low shot past Enyeama after running onto another pass from the irrepressible Pastore.
Even the normally indifferent Ibrahimovic applauded from the stands.
Later Saturday, it's: Bordeaux vs. Metz; Caen vs. Guingamp; Evian vs. Bastia; Rennes vs. Nice; and Toulouse vs. Nantes.
Third-place Monaco visits last-place Lens and fifth-place Saint-Etienne takes on Montpellier in Sunday's other games.
All content copyright ©2015 Daily Journal, a division of Home News Enterprises unless otherwise noted.