Di Maria and Pastore on target as leader PSG beats Lille 3-1
PARIS (AP) With their futures uncertain, winger Angel Di Maria and midfielder Javier Pastore scored as French leader Paris Saint-Germain beat Lille 3-1 on Saturday.
Teen star Kylian Mbappe sealed the win in the third minute of injury time after Lille striker Anwar El Ghazi pounced in the 86th minute to ensure a nervous finish.
PSG likely needs to sell players after splashing out 402 million euros ($473 million) on forwards Neymar and Mbappe. That led to Qatari-owned PSG being placed under investigation by UEFA for potential breaches of Financial Fair Play rules. PSG is under pressure to sell in the January transfer window to balance the books.
Di Maria and Pastore have been in and out of the side and are considered among the leading candidates to leave. PSG turned down Barcelona’s offer for Di Maria right at the end of the summer transfer window.
PSG lost its unbeaten record last week, losing at Strasbourg 2-1 and then at Bayern Munich 3-1 in the Champions League. They were PSG’s first consecutive defeats since December 2014 and increased speculation that coach Unai Emery could be replaced.
Lille came into the match having won its past two games following a terrible start that led to coach Marcelo Bielsa being sacked.
After a sluggish start at Parc des Princes, the home side took the lead in the 28th minute when Pastore played Mbappe in behind the defense and his cross was headed home by Di Maria near the penalty spot.
After halftime, Lille clumsily gave away possession trying to pass from the back, Edinson Cavani won the ball and found Di Maria, who in turn quickly fed Pastore for a neat finish from just inside the penalty area.
El Ghazi replied after a poor pass from PSG center half Marquinhos put his own defense in trouble.
Lille earned a corner in the last minute of injury time, and goalkeeper Mike Maignan rushed up to join his teammates in the crowded PSG area. But the ball was hacked away and Mbappe sprinted through from near halfway to score into an empty net.
The win moved PSG 12 points clear of Lyon, Monaco – which was hosting Troyes later Saturday – and Marseille.
In Sunday’s games, Lyon travels to Amiens and Marseille hosts Saint-Etienne.