Ranking Edinson Cavani's Top Five Goals for Paris Saint-Germain
Edinson Cavani's two goals in the Coupe de la Ligue final on Saturday night took his tally for Paris Saint-Germain to 22 goals in 37 games. The Uruguyan forward has been criticised at various points throughout his first season for Les Parisiens but has demonstrated his qualities in front of goal, especially domestically.
While Zlatan Ibrahimovic is undoubtedly the club's biggest star, Cavani has quietly but consistently found the net and as such has a ratio better than a goal in every other game. The Ligue 1 title may be sewn up, but the Coupe de la Ligue victory was PSG's first piece of silverware this season.
In honour of Cavani's match-winning brace, we look at his top five strikes for the club during his debut season. Some have been selected for their importance—crucial goals scored at vital times—while others make the cut simply for their brilliance.
Honourable mention must go to his powerful low drive against Rennes in December, as well as his instinctive near-post volley against Saint-Etienne during a thrilling 2-2 draw in October.
Are these his best strikes, or are there other ones that deserve inclusion? As always, please comment below with your views.
Here are Cavani's top five goals for PSG so far this campaign.
5. Powerful Header Against Marseille in March
An important goal for both Cavani and Paris Saint-Germain.
With PSG leading Marseille 1-0 in Le Classique, the Uruguayan was introduced from the bench in the second half.
This was Cavani's first appearance since the end of January. He had been ruled out for over a month with a thigh injury but showed no signs of rustiness from the moment he entered the pitch.
Cavani only played 20 minutes but needed less than 10 to score. A lofted ball over the Marseille defence found Gregory van der Wiel racing forward down the right-hand side, and the full-back expertly volleyed a first-time cross into the area for Cavani.
El Matador made no mistake, leaping unchallenged to direct a powerful header past the helpless Steve Mandanda into the right-hand corner of the net.
It was a goal to seal a vital victory for PSG in their pursuit of the title and an important personal mark for Cavani. On his return from injury he found his goalscoring touch immediately.
4. First PSG Strike Against AC Ajaccio
Cavani cost Paris Saint-Germain a great deal of money—€64.5 million to be precise. Such a large price tag brings with it a lot of expectation, so it was crucial for Cavani to open his PSG account early in his career.
He drew a blank in his first game after coming on from the bench against Montpellier. In his second appearance and first competitive start, he scored a brilliant and vital goal against lowly AC Ajaccio.
In this early-season encounter, Ajaccio had an unlikely lead as the clock ticked into the final five minutes. Then came Cavani's moment. Youngster Hervin Ongenda found the Uruguayan on the edge of the box and continued his run, expecting a return pass.
Cavani had other ideas. Twisting inside onto his left foot, he curled a brilliant strike into the far-top corner. The goal demonstrated Cavani's talents: He had great quick feet to shift the ball inside, then produced a powerful curling finish into the back of the net.
At this early stage in the season, it was important PSG avoided an embarrassing defeat. For Cavani it was important that he opened his account early in his career in France. With this strike he demonstrated his quality and gave PSG fans a taster of what to expect during the course of the season.
3. Cup-Winning Penalty Against Lyon
This goal is Cavani's most important strike for Paris Saint-Germain so far. El Matador had already found the net once in the Coupe de la Ligue final, but this second goal proved to be the match-winning effort.
Whether or not a penalty should be awarded is debatable. Indeed, replays suggest Lucas was brought down outside the box and that there wasn't a great deal of contact on him anyway. However, there was no doubt about the way Cavani lashed home the decisive spot-kick.
After a fortnight to forget for the Uruguayan, in which he toiled alone up front against Chelsea in the Champions League, his performance in the Coupe de la Ligue final was crucial in defining his first season for Les Parisiens.
The penalty was dispatched with the confidence Cavani displayed all game, thrashed hard and low into the bottom-left corner of the net. The goal put PSG 2-0 up, a cushion they needed when Lyon fought their way back into the game in the second half.
Cavani's spot kick was the difference though, a fitting way to reward for a man-of-the-match performance for the big occasion.
2. Delightful Dink in Rout of Sochaux
So much of Cavani's' game revolves around his pace and power. He is an imposing physical presence for both club and country in attack. However, he also possesses tremendous skill and technique, as particularly demonstrated by his superb control and finish against Sochaux.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic floated a drifting, angled crossfield ball for Cavani. The Uruguayan, who was involved in the build-up play in midfield, peeled away towards the far post to meet the ball.
His first touch was exquisite, as he plucked the ball out of the air over his shoulder and took it expertly into his stride. His second touch was equally delicate, as he dinked the ball gently over the onrushing goalkeeper and into the back of the net.
Sochaux were poor throughout this game, and PSG ran out convincing 5-0 winners, but that takes nothing away from Cavani's goal. This was a fine piece of skill, demonstrating that the Uruguayan is capable of scoring all manner of goals.
1. Superb Solo Goal Against Bastia
This strike fully deserves to be top of this list. It was not only Cavani's best goal in a PSG shirt but one of the best goals of his whole career.
It is a shame that Zlatan Ibrahimovic's ridiculous back-heel strike came in the same match, as it has meant that Cavani's sublime effort has been overshadowed.
El Matator's goal was something special, though. Running into the area from wide on the left flank, Cavani bamboozled his way past a string of Bastia defenders to get himself through to the keeper.
This was incredible skill, but the best was yet to come. Cavani impudently dummied and rolled the ball under his foot to leave Bastia goalkeeper Mickael Landreau on the floor, before squeeing a low, expertly placed shot into the far corner from a narrow angle.
The goal was one of the best seen at the Parc des Princes in many a season and had the crowd on their feet roaring with joy and disbelief. Zlatan Ibrahimovic was seen smiling and clapping from the dugout, and Cavani was understandably embraced by his team-mates.
Cavani had had a relatively quiet start to his PSG career, but this goal marked him as a special player who could be vital for Les Parisiens in the future.