PARIS (AP) Striker Edinson Cavani scored his 44th goal of the season and created the second goal as Paris Saint-Germain beat Montpellier 2-0 to go top of the French league on Saturday.
Cavani thumped home a cross from midfielder Blaise Matuidi in the first half, with winger Angel Di Maria involved in the buildup. It took Cavani’s career-best tally to 31 league goals and he thought he had another later in the half, but his powerful header was ruled out for offside.
Three minutes after the break, Cavani back-heeled to Di Maria, who curled in from just outside the penalty area for his fifth goal in five games.
Defending champion PSG is three points ahead of Monaco, which has led for most of the season.
Monaco has played two games less and can return to the top on goal difference by winning at Lyon on Sunday.
Both sides are doing well in Europe.
Monaco reached the Champions League semifinals and Lyon got through to the last four of the Europa League this week.
PSG has won eight straight games in all competitions to keep the pressure on Monaco. They meet each other on Wednesday in the French Cup semifinals. PSG then faces a tough away trip at third-place Nice next weekend as the hard-fought title race heats up.
“Monaco’s had a great season and you have to congratulate them,” PSG left back Maxwell said. “But we’re still in it.”
Bordeaux beat last-place Bastia 2-0 at home to move up to fourth spot, with striker Malcom getting the first goal.
But Lyon needs only a draw at home to Monaco to regain fourth spot.
After struggling for most of the season, Lorient is suddenly playing like a team near the top.
The Brittany-based side moved out of the relegation zone and up to 16th place after thrashing Metz 5-1 at home for a fourth win in five games. Midfielder Jimmy Cabot scored two and striker Benjamin Moukandjo grabbed his 13th goal of the season.
Elsewhere, striker Yacine Bammou scored both as Nantes beat struggling Caen 2-0.
Two goals from center forward Lois Diony helped Dijon beat Angers 3-2 at home; while Nicolas De Preville scored a brace as Lille beat Guingamp 3-0.
In Sunday’s other matches, Nice is away to Toulouse and Saint-Etienne hosts Rennes.