Kylian Mbappé came to Paris Saint-Germain's rescue as he scored twice to earn the Ligue 1 Conforama leaders a hard-fought 2-1 victory over SM Caen on Saturday.
SM Caen 1-2 Paris Saint-Germain
With the hosts hovering just above the automatic relegation places and the league-leading visitors looking for an eighth successive triumph in all competitions - on paper - this was a massive mismatch.
The 3-0 beating Caen took at the Parc des Princes earlier in the season did not bode well either, but with PSG perhaps having one eye on their upcoming UEFA Champions League encounter with Manchester United, the outsiders had an opportunity to at least make life uncomfortable for Thomas Tuchel's men.
They did, but not that that appeared to be case as PSG quickly looked at home. Layvin Kurzawa sent a shot off the crossbar (4') before Thomas Meunier fired wide (6') as the reigning French champions set about their task with gusto.
Caen riposted with an Enzo Crivelli header that also tested the woodwork (13') and Casimir Ninga might have done better than to screw an effort wide of the target (27') with Fabien Mercadal's men seeking to give as good as they were getting.
The only time in PSG's last 27 away league games that they had failed to score was in Caen on the final day of last season, and the Fates seemed to be conspiring to ensure history repeated itself before the break.
Angel Di Maria, who scored twice in Tuesday's Coupe de France defeat of Dijon, had a goal ruled out (23') and saw Brice Samba touch a promising curling effort onto a post (37') just after Marquinhos had also found an upright with a header (33').
Di Maria stretched the excellent Samba again (39') and Kylian Mbappé wasted a good opportunity (45') before the deadlock was finally broken just after the half-time interval. No surprise? No, if you had predicted that somehow Caen would break it.
The hosts had been dominated and would have acknowledged their good fortune in not having fallen behind, but luck played no part in their magnificent goal. When a free-kick was flighted into the PSG box, Ninga squeezed in ahead of Dani Alves, and clinically took his opportunity (56').
The response was not long in coming, though Younn Zahary's handball to give Mbappé the opportunity to equalise from the spot just three minutes later was not the sort of helping hand the visitors would normally require (59').
A Di Maria header then struck the frame of Samba's seemingly charmed goal (61') as PSG laid siege to the Caen final third, and the home resistance was finally broken by the seemingly irresistible Mbappé.
After becoming the youngest-ever player to reach 50 Ligue 1 Conforama goals by scoring twice in last weekend's win over Nîmes Olympique, the top-flight's leading scorer pounced when Samba could only push out Thomas Meunier's half-volley (87') to take his team 20 points clear at the top of the table.
THE PLAYER: Kylian Mbappé
The 20-year-old just keeps on getting better. With his team in need of a miracle, he provided one. With 24 goals this season already, it's mouthwatering to think how much better it's going to get.
THE STAT: 1
The penalty he scored to equalise was Mbappé's very first in his top-flight career.