Ligue 1 weekend review: PSG continues Classique run

Paris Saint Germain extended its unbeaten run in Le Classique to 19 matches with a 3-1 thumping of Olympique Marseille

Paris Saint-Germain's French forward Kylian Mbappe (bottom) is congratulated by Argentine midfielder Angel Di Maria after a goal.   -  AFP

PSG's 3-1 win over Olympique Marseille stretched its unbeaten run in the corresponding fixture to 19 while sending it 20 points clear atop the standings. Lyon edged a five-goal thriller against Montpellier 3-2 to go within four points of second-placed Lille.

Marseille hasn't emerged victorious from a clash with arch-rival PSG since 2011, and although it turned in a strong first-half performance at the Parc des Princes on Sunday night, it couldn’t prevent a sublime Angel Di Maria from leading PSG to a 3-1 win.

The Argentine set up top scorer Kylian Mbappé for his 26th goal of the season just before the break and then scored two goals himself — one with a curled finish from a tight angle and the other his fourth direct free-kick of the season from 30 metres out — to cancel out Valère Germain's leveller early in the second term.

"It was a great win. After Manchester United [which eliminated PSG form the UEFA Champions League], it has been tough, but we have to accept what happened. The team reacted fantastically tonight. It was a deserved win," said PSG boss Thomas Tuchel, who has been without star forwards Neymar and Edinson Cavani for several weeks now.

The German heaped praise on Di Maria. "He is capable of incredible skill, like for the first goal from Kylian Mbappé and then his brace. He works a lot at training. There's no secret potion in sport. Hard work pays off."

Monaco's Brasilian forward Carlos Vinicius (C-R) celebrates with team mates after scoring a goal against Lille OSC (LOSC) at the Pierre-Mauroy Stadium.   -  AFP

 

Monaco claimed a shock 1-0 win away to second-placed LOSC. Brazilian winter signing Vinicius got the only goal of the game - his first in Ligue 1 - in the 90th minute, a fact coach Leonardo Jardim ascribed to his side's DNA.

"A victory like this one, against the second-best team in the league, is very important. I congratulate the players on picking up points in seven successive games," said the Portuguese, whose team is now eight points clear of the relegation play-off spot. "A draw would have been a good result, but we kept three forwards right to the end because it's in our DNA to play to win, to always try to get a victory. It's an important win, but we're still in a difficult situation."

The Friday-night result paved the way for third-placed Lyon, sent crashing out of the UEFA Champions League by Lionel Messi in mid-week, to close the gap to four points as it trumped Montpellier 3-2 in a thrilling encounter with Houssem Aouar heading home the eventual winner.

Nîmes and Coupe de la Ligue BKT finalist Strasbourg remain mid-table after cancelling each other out 2-2 in a thriller on the south coast on Saturday, with a Téji Savanier's last-gasp penalty earning Les Crocodiles a point, while Nice managed to stay in the top half of the table by securing a draw at home to Toulouse on Friday.

Bordeaux, under new coach Paulo Sousa, took the lead against Rennes thanks to top scorer François Kamano's first strike since week 16, but the Brittany side, knocked out of the Europa League by Arsenal in mid-week, bounced back to clinch a 1-1 draw at the MATMUT Atlantique thanks to the in-form Mbaye Niang.

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