PSG's Meunier steals the show...and the points at Dijon
Thomas Meunier was Paris Saint-Germain's unlikely hero as the full-back scored both goals in the Ligue 1 Conforama leaders' dramatic 2-1 win at Dijon FCO on Saturday.
Dijon FCO 1-2 Paris Saint-Germain
With AS Monaco, who started the weekend in second and three points behind PSG, losing at Olympique Lyonnais on Friday, Unai Emery's men knew a victory would give them a more comfortable cushion.
With Edinson Cavani tired after his trans-Atlantic trip and exertions with Uruguay, he was rested, giving Kylian Mbappé the chance to spearhead the side with Angel Di Maria starting in a wide position.
The Argentina attacker, who - like Cavani - had helped his country qualify for the 2018 World Cup during the international break, found Mbappé early, and the France striker forced a save from Baptiste Reynet (16').
Dijon brought PSG goalkeeper Alphonse Aréola into the game through Chang-hoon Kwon, whose shot was well stopped by the visiting number one (36'), before Dani Alves sent a free-kick fizzing just wide of the target at the opposite end (44').
Aréola turned away a Papy Djilobodji header (53') before Reynet was beaten by a Marquinhos header that found the crossbar rather than the net after the PSG defender had connected cleanly with a Neymar cross (63').
Mbappé twice tested Reynet (65' & 68') before Meunier, despite PSG's array of attacking talent, broke the deadlock. Neymar and Julian Draxler combined down the left - Reynet parried the Germany international's shot straight into the path of Meunier, who finished with ease (70').
PSG must have thought they had done enough, but three minutes from time, they were spectacularly pegged back. Wesley Saïd, sandwiched between Presnel Kimpembe and Marquinhos, held up the ball, and as he tried to trick his way beyond them, he inadvertently teed up Benjamin Jeannot, who smashed a brilliant 30-metre shot beyond Aréola to level (87').
Monaco had been caught with a late goal in Lyon, 24 hours later, PSG struck a last-gasp winner of their own. Dani Alves picked out Mbappé on the left, and after he had gone past Valentin Rosier, his low cross eventually found its way to Meunier, whose first-time shot secured all three points (90+2').
THE PLAYER: Thomas Meunier
The Belgium international underscored his importance to the side not only with his goals, but also his defensive solidity. In Meunier, Emery has a more than viable alternative to Dani Alves, allowing the PSG boss to use the Brazilian in a different position as he did in Dijon.
THE STAT 13
Meunier has been involved in 13 goals, scoring six of them, for club and country this season.