Di Maria the matchwinner as PSG win
Paris Saint-Germain have moved 11 points clear at the top of the Ligue 1 Conforama table thanks to an Angel Di Maria goal that gave them a 1-0 win at FC Nantes on Sunday.
FC Nantes 0-1 Paris Saint-Germain
With the sides directly below them, AS Monaco and Olympique Lyonnais, having drawn this weekend, Paris Saint-Germain knew a win at the Stade de la Beaujoire would stretch their lead at the top of the table to double figures.
Though deprived of Neymar Jr and Thiago Motta, the visitors did have Edinson Cavani back in the starting XI, and the Uruguay international might have caused the home side problems had he been able to latch onto a Giovani Lo Celso through ball early on (8').
Cavani needed one more goal to match Zlatan Ibrahimovic's PSG club record tally of 156, but the former Napoli forward had to settle for an early assist. It was his pass that Kylian Mbappé intelligently allowed to run through his legs for Di Maria, who poked home his third goal of the season (12').
Di Maria miss
Layvin Kurzawa fell just shy of connecting with a Di Maria free-kick shortly afterwards (21') as PSG threatened to double their advantage. They should have done so before the break when Mbappé found Adrien Rabiot and his low cross picked out Di Maria.
The former Benfica, Real Madrid and Manchester United man looked to have the simplest of tasks in scoring his second of the game, but with the goal gaping, he inexplicably struck the crossbar (37').
A solid Diego Carlos block prevented Lo Celso troubling Ciprian Tatarusanu (39') before Lucas Lima robbed Marco Verratti just outside the PSG penalty area. The full-back sent a fizzing shot over the bar (42') as Nantes sought to restore parity.
A promising cross from the full-back evaded no fewer than three team-mates in the penalty box just after the break (49') while Emiliano Sala seized onto a poor backpass from Kurzawa only to be denied by the rapidly advancing Alphonse Areola (56').
Mbappé's devastating pace created another opportunity for Di Maria, who shot wide disappointingly (57'). The Argentine's relief to see the offside flag raised when Sala headed a Lima free-kick past Areola shortly afterwards was clear (61').
PSG would have enjoyed an easier ride to the full-time whistle had Mbappé been able to beat Tatarusanu with a shot that had been teed up by Dani Alves, but Nantes' Romania international goalkeeper produced a brilliant stop to his left (85').
He made another from Thomas Meunier's header (89') before Nantes hopes disappeared with Diego Carlos being dismissed for a second bookable offence as PSG claimed yet another win against Les Canaris.
THE PLAYER: Angel Di Maria
Though he blotted his copybook with a glaring first-half miss, the Argentina international needed to step up with Neymar Jr absent and did so.
THE STAT: 13
PSG have won their last 13 league games against Nantes.