Angel Di Maria showed his worth as he set up the first and scored the winner to give Paris St Germain a 2-1 win against champions Lille in Ligue 1 after Lionel Messi limped off injured on Friday.
In the absence of Kylian Mbappe, who is suffering from an infection, Di Maria shone throughout the game, providing captain Marquinhos with the equaliser after Jonathan David’s opener before finding the back of the net two minutes from time.
After Messi left the pitch with a muscle problem, the Argentine winger found his range to put leaders PSG on 31 points from 12 games, 10 ahead of second-placed RC Lens.
Lille, who deserved better after a convincing first half, are 11th with 15 points.
Both teams went end-to-end in an entertaining opening half but Lille showed more poise and it took a superb save from Gianluigi Donnarumma to deny Burak Yilmaz in the first minute.
Lille, looking more like the team that dominated the league last season, were rewarded in the 31st minute when David opened his right foot to deflect Yilmaz’s powerful cross into the roof of the net from point-blank range.
Messi, who has yet to score for PSG in five league appearances, was replaced by Mauro Icardi as he appeared to be still suffering from the muscle problem that forced him to miss training with the team on Thursday.
“It was a precaution, and we hope he will be available for the game against Leipzig,” said coach Mauricio Pochettino, referring to Wednesday’s Champions League Group A game.
Lille came close to doubling the tally through David but Donnarumma pulled another brilliant save to keep the home side afloat.
The Italy keeper was at it again to tip away a whipped shot from Yilmaz shortly before the hour.
But Angel Di Maria and Neymar were a constant threat as PSG started to pile the pressure. It paid off in the 74th minute when Marquinhos latched onto a superb lofted cross from Di Maria to make it 1-1.
PSG came close to gaining the advantage five minutes from time but Ivo Grbic parried Icardi’s low shot with his right foot.
The winner came shortly after when Di Maria coolly slotted the ball past Grbic with a low shot from Neymar’s pass inside the box.