Angel Di Maria, Nantes, PSG
Match Reports

PSG pull further clear; LOSC and Monaco also win

Publish on 04/02/2020 at 22h55

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Angel Di Maria had a hand in both goals as Paris Saint-Germain beat FC Nantes 2-1 to move 15 points clear; while LOSC and AS Monaco picked up wins against Stade Rennais FC and Angers SCO respectively.

FC Nantes 1-2 Paris Saint-Germain

THE MATCH

PSG had won 18 of their previous 19 matches against Nantes in all competitions and were, perhaps unsurprisingly, in the ascendancy from the off with Mauro Icardo forcing Denis Petric into a save with his legs inside the first five minutes (3'). Thomas Tuchel then thought his side should have had a penalty when Kylian Mbappé went down under duress from the returning Andrei Girotto, but referee Frank Schneider waved play on (4'). Icardi had another claim dismissed (18') before Kader Bamba came to Petric's rescue, clearing Presnel Kimpembe's header from Di Maria's corner off the line with the home 'keeper beaten (19').

PSG deservedly broke the deadlock just indie the first half-hour. Mbappé's turn of pace proved undefendable for Percy Prado; the 21-year-old then cut back for Angel Di Maria and his first-time shot was helped on by Icardi, the on-loan Inter Milan striker claiming his 10th league goal of the season (29'). Nantes had a gilt-edged chance to restore parity at the end of the half but Moses Simon was off balance in meeting Imran Louza's square ball and fired high with the goal at his mercy (41').

PSG fend off fightback

The second half was little more than 10-minutes old when PSG pulled further clear. Di Maria whipped in an in-swinging corner and Thilo Kehrer met it with a textbook striker's header which belied the fact that he had hitherto scored one league goal for PSG since swapping Schalke for the French capital at the start of last season (57').

Nantes upped their tempo around the hour mark and Ludovic Blas came close to pulling one back when his quick feet helped him through for a one-on-one with Keylor Navas, but the Real Madrid-owned goalkeeper stood firm (60'). There was little the Costa Rican number one could have done minutes later when Moses Simon sprung the offside trap, sprinted clear, and slotted home for 2-1 (67'). It was to prove a false dawn, though. Simon (86') and Girotto (90'+1) were both quelled by Navas late on and it ended 2-1 to PSG.

THE PLAYER: Angel Di Maria

Di Maria took his assists tally to a league-leading 11 this season, while his goal count would have moved up to eight had Icardi not got the final touch on his first-half effort. When Icardi joined last summer, some speculated that Di Maria's days in Paris may be numbered with Mbappé and Neymar Jr. also for company in the final third. Instead, he has never looked more assured of his place in the team.

THE STAT: 100

PSG have scored a century of goals in all competitions this season. Across Europe's top five leagues per UEFA coefficient, only Manchester City, with 102, have bagged more. The English Premier League champions are 22 points off the pace domestically this term, though, while Paris 15 are now 15 points clear in Ligue 1 Conforama.

 

Loïc Rémy, Lille

LOSC 1-0 Stade Rennais FC 

LOSC came from behind to beat RC Strasbourg Alsace 2-1 on Saturday, snapping a three-game losing streak in all competitions, and they started brightly at home to Rennes, with Loïc Rémy firing his side into an early lead with a low drive from outside of the box which Édouard Mendy failed to get a firm enough hand to (4').

Rennes could be forgiven for their tired legs having gone 120 minutes against Angers in the Coupe de France last week before needing a 97th-minute winner to get past regional rivals FC Nantes last time out, but Raphinha - who got their winner on Friday - threatened midway through the half with a shot which went over (21'). The Brazilian winger was injured minutes later, though, making way for Romain Del Castillo (34'), and LOSC ended the half stronger with Victor Osimhen forcing Mendy into a safe from close-range after a smart one-two with Jonathan Ikoné (42').

LOSC hold on

Jonathan Bamba tried to double his season tally at the start of the second half but after cutting inside his deflected shot was easily collected by Mendy (49'). Rémy then attempted to spin his second goal of the game inside the far post after also finding space on the left in behind Hamari Traoré, bit it sailed wide (67') before he made way for Luiz Araujo (68'). Eduardo Camavinga - culpable for both of the goals conceded against Nantes - then sought to make some amends but his shot fizzed wide of Mike Maignan's post (68').

Rennes have picked up a league-high 14 points from losing positions so far this season, but there was to be no way back for them this time. Benjamin Bourigeaud forced a smart reaction save from Maignan late on (81') but there was still time for Aurajo to try an audacious lob on the counter at the other end (84') before it ended 1-0 to the hosts.

 

AS Monaco 1-0 Angers SCO

Monaco have struggled to find their feet since Robert Moreno replaced Leonardo Jardim as coach and they welcomed Angers to the Stade Louis II having lost each of their previous three games in all competitions. They came out of the blocks flying here, though, and Stevan Jovetic headed them into the lead when he improvised to meet Youssouf Fofana's lofted ball into the box (18').

Sada Thioub had the chance to draw Angers level but his shot was saved by Benjamin Lecomte before the whistle went for handball against the winger anyway (30'). A Pierrick Cappelle header was inches away from getting the visitors onto level terms at the end of the half, but Lecomte showed why he is trusted as the club's No.1 with an athletic save to turn it out for a corner (45'+1)

A few shots in Anger(s)

Angers were the better side at the start of the second half and should have got back on level terms inside the hour when Baptiste Santamaria found himself unmarked following a corner, but the midfielder showed why he has two goals in two seasons for the club, firing off-target with the goal at his mercy (57').

Angers - who were undefeated against Monaco since a 4-0 reverse in February 2018 - continued to push until the end, and nearly snuck an equaliser after Thioub's cross-turned-shot, but Keita Baldé turned world-class defender for Monaco, forcing the effort clear for a corner (90'+2) and it ended 1-0.