Updated: Sunday, 15 December 2013 02:29 | By Agence France-Presse

PSG charge rolls on with Rennes victory

Champions Paris Saint-Germain's relentless pursuit of a second straight title continued with a 3-1 win at Rennes on Saturday.

PSG charge rolls on with Rennes victory

Paris Saint-Germain's forward Edinson Cavani (R) celebrates with forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic after scoring during their French L1 football match against Rennes on December 14, 2013 at the route de Lorient stadium in Rennes, western France

Brazilian-born Italy midfielder Thiago Motta cracked home a long-range strike on 19 minutes before Zlatan Ibrahimovic slotted home a penalty seven minutes into the second period.

Romain Alessandrini pulled a goal back for the Breton hosts midway through the second half but Edinson Cavani's injury time low strike sealed the points.

The victory sent PSG five points clear of Monaco in second, who travel to Guingamp later on Saturday.

But with just 11 points dropped in 18 matches this season, PSG appear well on their way to maintaining their grip on the Ligue 1 crown.

If there was any doubt about the Parisians' current morale after two defeats in their last three matches, they were dispelled in a controlled performance.

PSG's 2-0 loss at Evian two weeks ago ended a 36-match unbeaten run but their midweek reverse at Benfica in the Champions League came with several stars rested and after the French champions had already secured top spot in their group.

In between those two setbacks they had thumped lowly Sochaux 5-0.

It was a game punctuated by some fine goals, most of all the opening one.

Motta was fully 25 yards out when he shifted the ball onto his favoured left foot and hit a powerful effort that curled around goalkeeper Benoit Costil.

The second came as Blaise Matuidi made a surging run into the box following a one-two, only to be sent crashing to the ground by a sliding challenge from Cedric Houtondji.

Ibrahimovic calmly rolled the spot-kick home straight down the middle for his 14th goal of the season, keeping him top of the scoring charts.

Rennes's hopes were revived when Alessandrini cracked home a free-kick from as far out as Motta's goal, but PSG goalkeeper Salvatore Sirigu should have done better with a strike that seemed to go straight through him.

The final nail in the home coffin came in time added on as Cavani robbed the ball in his own half and sprinted up the field to take Matuidi's pass from a swift counter before shooting home from outside the area.

Third-placed Lille could close the gap to the leaders back to four points if they beat Bastia on Sunday.

On Friday night 2012 champions Montpellier's dismal season continued as a 1-0 defeat at home to Saint-Etienne left them still one place above the relegation zone.

Montpellier have not won in nine matches since early October and have only two wins all season.

They fired coach Jean Fernandez in early December, replacing him with Rolland Courbis.

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