Kylian Mbappé and Neymar strike late to see off Lille, and move 11 points clear
PSG have become the first team to win all their opening 12 league games in one of Europe’s top five divisions following a 2-1 triumph over Lille.
Kylian Mbappé and Neymar scored as PSG beat a record Tottenham Hotspur had held since 1960. The victory over the second-place side in Ligue 1 also extended the champions lead at the top to 11 points. Third-placed Montpellier, who are a further three points adrift, play Marseille at home on Sunday.
Mbappé lit up the match with another brilliant goal, his 11th of the season, when he took a through ball in his stride and buried a delightful curling shot past Mike Maignan in the 70th minute.
Neymar made it 2-0 with a clinical finish in the 84th minute before Nicolas Pepe netted a stoppage-time penalty for Lille, who matched the home side for long spells with an adventurous approach and incisive passing.
PSG always looked more dangerous, though, as Mbappé went close with a low shot before Maignan denied Angel Di María from close range and Brazilian defender Marquinhos headed over the bar following a corner.
Thomas Meunier fired high after a dazzling run by Mbappé and Maignan again rescued Lille with two good saves in the closing stages of the first half.
Mbappé broke the deadlock with lethal precision. Soon after, Maignan did well to block Marco Verrati’s shot before Neymar drilled in the second for PSG, who then conceded a clumsy penalty as one of their defenders needlessly handled the ball. Pepe blasted the spot-kick past Gianluigi Buffon into the top corner but Lille ran out of time to force a draw.
The Qatari-owned club were forced to release a statement shortly before kick-off to deny allegations made by a Football Leaks investigation that they had worked with UEFA to cover up breaches of their Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules.
“We deserved the result and the win record. Ligue 1 is not that easy. It is down to our hard work. We give everything on the field,” skipper Thiago Silva told Canal Plus.
Mbappe was back in the PSG starting line-up after being left on the bench against Marseille last weekend for arriving late for the pre-game team talk, only to come on and score the opener in a 2-0 win.
Marco Verratti also started, despite PSG confirming earlier on Friday that the Italian had been caught drink driving overnight Tuesday to Wednesday on the ring road around the French capital.
“He told me before training on Wednesday. It was on Tuesday night, it is not possible to do that two days before a match. It is not good what he did but it is something for the club to sort out,” Tuchel said, adding that Verratti was “lucky” the incident did not happen closer to the game.
The result is a boost for PSG ahead of their crucial Champions League trip to Italy to face Napoli next Tuesday, when a defeat could leave Thomas Tuchel’s side on the brink of an early exit, something that could eventually see the German fired from his position. Champions League qualification is a must for the club, with owners categorizing it as the trophy that they most desire.
Qualification hinges on Tuesday result, after a disappointing 3-2 defeat at Anfield against Liverpool and a 2-2 draw against Napoli, putting PSG in the worst position out of the three big teams.