Sublime Di María leads PSG to Classique win
A world-class performance from Ángel Di María inspired Paris Saint-Germain to a 3-1 win over 10-man Olympique de Marseille in a fiery Classique at the Parc des Princes on Sunday.
Paris Saint-Germain 3 - 1 Olympique de Marseille
PSG needed a big performance in order to make peace with their supporters, who are still struggling to get over the capital club's UEFA Champions League elimination at the hands of Manchester United. Beating Marseille, their greatest rivals, was the best way to do that, and Thomas Tuchel's side delivered with Di María scoring two superb second-half goals to win the game.
Kylian Mbappé's opener late in the first half was cancelled out by Valère Germain just after the restart, but Di María's brace and the sending-off in between of Steve Mandanda did for OM. Mbappé also had a penalty saved late on. This result ends their recent revival, with Rudi Garcia's side suffering a first loss in seven matches just hours after Olympique Lyonnais moved six points clear in third place.
Meanwhile, Paris are now just eight points away from retaining the Ligue 1 Conforama title after extending their dominance in this fixture.
Balotelli passed fit
PSG were playing their first home game since their Champions League exit, while Marseille travelled full of confidence and with Mario Balotelli in their line-up having been a fitness doubt ahead of kick-off. The Italian tested Alphonse Aréola from 25 yards inside two minutes, before the hosts had a goal disallowed quarter of an hour in. Di María ran through to lift the ball over Mandanda and in, but the effort was ruled out following a VAR review which showed the Argentine had been just offside.
The home side lost both Dani Alves and Thomas Meunier to injuries in the opening period, with Colin Dagba and Thilo Kehrer coming on, but they still managed to take the lead in first-half stoppage time. The goal came from a Marseille corner, with Thiago Silva heading clear and Di María leading the counter-attack before setting up Mbappé to finish first-time.
Marseille hit back to equalise within 30 seconds of the restart as the tenacious Lucas Ocampos teed up Germain to score into the corner, but PSG responded like champions. Di María put them back in front in the 55th minute, exchanging passes with Kehrer before curling a superb finish beyond Mandanda and into the far corner from the right-hand edge of the six-yard box.
Mandanda was sent off just past the hour mark for blocking the ball with his arm as he raced out of his box to meet Di María. Yohann Pelé took his place, with Balotelli making way, but the substitute goalkeeper's first task was to pick the ball out of the net as Di María curled the resulting free-kick from 30 yards in off the post.
There was no way back for OM, but at least they avoided conceding again, with Pele saving Mbappé's stoppage-time penalty awarded after the striker had been fouled in the box by Hiroki Sakai.
THE PLAYER: Ángel Di María
What a marvellous performance from the Argentina star. Two goals took him to nine in the league this season, but there was also a disallowed goal and an assist, while it was he who provoked Mandanda's red card. It is the third time in 2019 that he has scored and provided an assist in a Ligue 1 Conforama game - no other player has managed that in any of Europe's big five leagues.
THE STAT: 19
PSG are now unbeaten in their last 19 meetings with Marseille in all competitions, winning 16 and drawing three, since a 3-0 loss at the Vélodrome in November 2011.