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No Neymar? No problem as PSG see off Rennes

Edinson Cavani scored a hatrick in 16 minutes in the second-half in PSG's 9-0 win over Guingamp.
Edinson Cavani scored a hatrick in 16 minutes in the second-half in PSG's 9-0 win over Guingamp. REUTERS/Charles Platiau

Paris Saint-Germain were on Monday stepping up their attempts to recruit a midfielder to bolster their ranks ahead of next month's last 16 matches in the Uefa Champions League.

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The Ligue 1 pacesetters - who have lost 222 million euro striker Neymar and midfield general Marco Verratti to injury - have been linked with Zenit Saint Petersburg's Leandro Paredes and Everton's Idrissa Gueye.

The urgency for fresh blood was highlighted during a 4-1 victory over Rennes on Sunday night at the Parc des Princes.

Edinson Cavani gave the hosts a lead in the seventh minute. But with defenders Marquinhos and Dani Alves pushed forward into midfield, Thomas Tuchel's men struggled to capitalise on their early lead.

Rennes were all square after 28 minutes when Mbaye Niang flicked home Hamari Traoré's cross from the right wing.

Three goal burst

PSG took the lead for the second time on the hour mark. Skipper Thiago Silva sent Angel di Maria through and the Argentine slickly clipped the ball over the Rennes goalkeeper Tomas Koubek into the net.

Julian Draxler set up Kylian Mbappé for his 18th league goal of the campaign to make it 3-1. PSG added the fourth in the 71st minute when Mbappé turned provider for Cavani to bag his brace.

"We reacted well after a very difficult first half against a very brave side," said Tuchel who conceded that Neymar was likely to miss the first leg of PSG's tie against Manchester United on 12 February at Old Trafford.

On 23 January, during a French Cup win over Strasbourg, the 26-year-old Brazilian injured the same bone that kept him out of action for three months last season.

"It is still too early to talk about a return date," said Tuchel. "We need to wait and see how he reacts to treatment to be more precise."

PSG's victory restored their 13 point advantage over second placed Lille who have played two more games than the leaders.

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