PSG stay well clear of the chas­ing pack

The Citizen (KZN) - - Internatio­nal - Paris

– Paris Saint-Ger­main sur­vived the ab­sence of Ney­mar and a Lyon fight­back to win Sun­day night’s Ligue 1 clash 4-2 at a stormy Parc des Princes, helped by Fer­nando Mar­cal’s truly stun­ning sec­ond-half own goal.

Run­away lead­ers and de­fend­ing cham­pi­ons PSG were cruis­ing at half-time with An­gel Di Maria and Kylian Mbappe (above) giv­ing them a two-goal ad­van­tage against a Lyon side en­dur­ing a dis­ap­point­ing sea­son.

Then Mar­cal com­i­cally blasted the ball into the roof of his own net just af­ter the break, leav­ing Lyon look­ing at an­other heavy de­feat in Paris, where they lost 5-0 in this fix­ture last sea­son.

How­ever, Martin Ter­rier and Moussa Dem­bele quickly pulled goals back, and PSG needed a late strike by sub­sti­tute Edin­son Ca­vani to se­cure the points.

“Nor­mally af­ter a goal like that the game is over,” said coach Thomas Tuchel of the own goal. “But we were not dis­ci­plined enough and it was a les­son for us that it’s never over.”

PSG’s per­for­mance show­cased why they can ill af­ford to be com­pla­cent head­ing into their Cham­pi­ons League last 16, first leg match away to Borus­sia Dort­mund on 18 Fe­bru­ary, even if sport­ing di­rec­tor Leonardo in­sisted to Canal Plus that the tie was “not life or death” for the Qatar-owned club.

They will hope to have Ney­mar back by then. The world’s most ex­pen­sive player sat out a sec­ond con­sec­u­tive match here due to a rib com­plaint.

“We play a lot of games and er­rors hap­pen but I don’t know if it’s the time to be too crit­i­cal,” Tuchel added.

“The team was great and we can’t for­get we were with­out lots of key play­ers.”

With­out Ney­mar – as well as his in­jured com­pa­tri­ots, Thi­ago Silva and Mar­quin­hos, in de­fence – Tuchel’s side made it eight straight wins and stretched their un­beaten run to 21 games in all com­pe­ti­tions.

Lyon, mean­while, have not won in three and this re­sult leaves the seven-time for­mer cham­pi­ons in ninth place.

They are eight points adrift of the Cham­pi­ons League qual­i­fy­ing spots and their up­com­ing Euro­pean dou­ble-header against Ju­ven­tus looks cer­tain to be a step too far for them.

They are 12 points clear of Mar­seille, who beat Toulouse 1-0 on Satur­day. – AFP

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