Paris Saint-Germain 2-0 Lille: Neymar returns as Di Maria helps champions go 11 points clear

By Sports Desk November 22, 2019

Neymar returned for Paris Saint-Germain as a comfortable 2-0 home win over Lille moved the Ligue 1 champions 11 points clear at the top of the table.

The Brazil star had been out of action for a month due to injury but was fit enough to start at Parc des Princes on Friday, though fellow forward Kylian Mbappe, who has been ill, was only deemed ready for the bench.

Mbappe's initial absence did not hurt PSG as on-loan striker Mauro Icardi hit his ninth goal in his past eight appearances to put his side in front.

Angel Di Maria struck the second before half-time and Mbappe came off the bench to make it a good day for coach Thomas Tuchel ahead of Tuesday's Champions League trip to Real Madrid.

Icardi continued his hot streak with the opening goal for PSG in the 17th minute, the Argentina attacker arriving at the back post to convert Idrissa Gueye's left-wing cross.

PSG had not hit top gear but doubled their advantage before the half-time break.

When Neymar was tackled the ball ran loose for Julian Draxler to trick his way into space and free Di Maria in the left channel to beat Mike Maignan with a trademark left-foot curler.

Though Keylor Navas had to save well from Luiz Araujo, such was PSG's comfort that Neymar was able to make way for Mbappe's return midway through the second half.

Lille substitute Loic Remy had a chance to set up a grandstand finish but scuffed a tame finish at Navas, while Yusuf Yazici curled wide from a promising position in the closing stages.

What does it mean? Another title looks certain for PSG

Despite already having lost three times in the league this season, PSG are 11 points clear and seemingly cruising to another Ligue 1 crown. The challenge for Tuchel will be maintaining momentum and intensity for key Champions League clashes still to come.

Lille lost vital members of their coaching staff to Tottenham after Jose Mourinho's appointment this week and Christophe Galtier's side, who have only won once in the league since September, face a battle to secure Champions League football.

Gueye adds to clean sheet collection

PSG's array of attacking talent is the envy of clubs from all over the world but Gueye, who joined from Everton ahead of the 2018-19 season, may prove their most important signing in some time.

The Senegal midfielder has now played nine Ligue 1 matches for his new club and they have won eight of them, conceding just three times. As well as providing protection for PSG's defence, he created the opening goal for Icardi with a fine low cross.

Draxler miss not punished by Lille

PSG should have won by a greater margin but Draxler, who had otherwise been impressive, wasted a superb chance to add to their lead early in the second half after being set up by Icardi.

Substitute Edinson Cavani, who replaced Icardi, was also profligate in the last minute.

What's next?

PSG are already through to the next round of the Champions League but can secure top spot by avoiding defeat away to Real Madrid on Tuesday, with Tuchel's side back in domestic action next Sunday when they go to Monaco.

Lille are at home to Ajax on Wednesday then host Dijon in the league three days later.

Related items

  • COVID-19 is still a thing, what’s the rush? Better safe than sorry COVID-19 is still a thing, what’s the rush? Better safe than sorry

    Apparently fans in the Caribbean are growing impatient. They are eager to see local football players do what they love.

    Well, President of the Caribbean Football Union, Randolph Harris, says fans will have to wait. I agree.

    Harris is concerned about the health risks involved in a return to live football in the Caribbean and doesn’t see it happening anytime soon.

    According to Harris, a lack of resources makes putting preventative measures in place difficult. I completely understand. But there are others who suggest football should return sooner than later.

    Somewhere along the way COVID-19 has become less of a concern and more of a joke. Especially in the world of sports though it means increasing the odds of let’s say, dying.

    I’ll give you an exampleIt was reported that a football tournament with over 800 patrons was held at the Hellshire Beach in St Catherine. Let that seep in (I’ll wait).

    It irks me that many people are casually getting on with life. Reducing the spread of Covid-19 is group work and everyone needs to play their part. If fans really loved and respected the players and others, they would be more understanding about decisions concerning safety.

    It’s better to be safe than sorry. We all have a role to play in reducing the spread of Covid-19. Preventative measures include (but aren’t limited to) social distancing, wearing a mask and washing our hands frequently. Let's not forget the disease has the potential to kill. We wouldn't want to lose any more loved ones or beloved athletes.

    Please share your thoughts on Twitter (@SportsMax_Carib) or in the comments section on Facebook (@SportsMax). Don’t forget to use #IAmNotAFan. Until next time!

  • Juventus 4-1 Torino: Buffon makes history as Ronaldo leads from the front Juventus 4-1 Torino: Buffon makes history as Ronaldo leads from the front

    Cristiano Ronaldo scored a stunning goal and provided an assist as Juventus eased to a 4-1 derby win over Torino to open up a seven-point lead at the top of Serie A.

    Ronaldo was by no means a constant nuisance to the Torino defence, but the Portugal great turned it on when he needed to, setting up Juan Cuadrado before scoring a brilliant goal of his own on Saturday.

    Juve made a lightning start and opened the scoring through a fine Paulo Dybala effort, before Ronaldo teed up Cuadrado – who set up the opener – for their second at the Allianz Stadium.

    An Andrea Belotti penalty gave the visitors a lifeline just before half-time, Gianluigi Buffon beaten in his record 648th Serie A appearance.

    But Ronaldo struck with a wonderful free-kick in the 61st minute and Koffi Djidji's own goal added to Torino's misery as Juve put further pressure on second-placed Lazio ahead of their clash with Milan.

    It took Juve just three minutes to take charge of the encounter, as Cuadrado found Dybala in the box and the Argentinian's quick feet saw him weave past two defenders before slotting home.

    Cuadrado was involved again just before the half-hour mark, this time jinking on to his right foot and finishing emphatically after Ronaldo led a counter and set the winger up.

    But Torino pulled one back on the stroke of half-time – Belotti slotting a penalty past Buffon after Matthijs de Ligt blocked Simone Verdi's initial shot with his arm.

    Torino briefly thought they had levelled early in the second half, but Belotti had strayed offside in the build-up.

    Juve increased their advantage just past the hour-mark, as Ronaldo stepped up to a 30-yard free-kick and sent an unstoppable effort into the top-left corner.

    The visitors' haplessness was summed up by Djidji's late own goal, the defender turning Douglas Costa's cross past Salvatore Sirigu.

    What does it mean? Juve a step closer to the title

    Although derby clashes generally produce plenty of unpredictability, contests between these two rarely lead to surprises. After all, before Saturday, Juve last lost at home to Torino in April 1995.

    Nevertheless, it was still another hurdle to pass and Juve managed to deal with Torino with minimal fuss.

    Ronaldo does what was required

    As a player who has produced countless memorable performances across his career, no one will claim this was among the standouts – but you cannot argue he was effective, as he set up Cuadrado and netted his first free-kick for Juve.

    A day to forget for Lyanco

    Torino centre-back Lyanco will want to forget about this performance quickly. While not necessarily guilty of gifting any goals away, he will be disappointed he could not do more for Juve's first two.

    What's next?

    Juve go to Milan on Tuesday, while Torino host Brescia the following day.

  • Championship: Leeds tighten grip on top spot, Stoke ease relegation concerns Championship: Leeds tighten grip on top spot, Stoke ease relegation concerns

    Leeds United moved another step closer to automatic promotion from the Championship with a 3-1 victory over Blackburn Rovers at Ewood Park. 

    Marcelo Bielsa's side have been inconsistent since last month's restart but saw off Blackburn to remain six points clear of third-placed Brentford. 

    West Brom, who sit in second, are not in action until Sunday and in-form Brentford took full advantage by closing the gap to two points with a convincing 3-0 win against Wigan Athletic. 

    Stoke City were also big winners in Saturday's second-tier fixtures, thrashing fellow strugglers Barnsley 4-0 to climb out of the relegation zone and into 18th place. 

    Cardiff City, Reading and Fulham picked up valuable victories of their own, while two other matches - including the east Midlands derby - finished level. 


    TOP-FLIGHT RETURN IN SIGHT FOR LEEDS

    Leeds had collected four points from nine since resuming their campaign, but there is surely no stopping them from ending their 16-year wait for top-flight promotion. 

    Patrick Bamford and Kalvin Phillips put Leeds two goals ahead and while Adam Armstrong scored a free-kick early in the second period, Mateusz Klich made sure of the points. 

    West Brom play their game in hand against Hull City on Sunday and now have a four-point gap to make up on Leeds, though holding down second place could become their main priority. 

    Brentford have now won five in a row after Said Benrahma helped himself to a hat-trick against Wigan, who had Joe Garner sent off late on. 

    PROMOTION BATTLE HEATING UP

    Derby County and Nottingham Forest played out a 1-1 draw in the early kick-off - Chris Martin scoring in the 97th minute to cancel out Joe Lolley's goal. 

    Cardiff saw a number of promising chances go begging against Bristol City before Lee Tomlin played in fellow substitute Danny Ward to snatch a 1-0 win. 

    As well as earning bragging rights for Cardiff, Ward's clinical strike five minutes from the end also opens up a three-point buffer on seventh-in-the-table Derby. 

    Fulham also needed a late goal to overcome Birmingham City at Craven Cottage, Josh Onomah popping up deep into added time to prolong the visitors' bad run of form. 

    STOKE STEER CLEAR OF DANGER

    Stoke entered their match with Barnsley sitting just above their opponents in the relegation zone. By the final whistle, they had risen clear of the drop zone. 

    Tyrese Campbell struck twice while a goal apiece for Sam Vokes and Tom Ince resulted in a crushing win at the bet365 Stadium. 

    Luton Town were unable to give their own survival hopes a much-needed boost as they went down 5-0 at home to Reading, a result that leaves them five points from safety. 

    Yakou Meite was the hero for Reading, netting four of their goals - including an 18-minute hat-trick before half-time - while George Puscas was also on target for the visitors. 

    Meanwhile, Huddersfield Town played out a goalless stalemate with a Preston North End side now winless in six matches.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.