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.
”They haven’t told me that they want to leave,” PSG coach Unai Emery said.
The win kept PSG nine points clear of defending champion Monaco, which rallied from 2-0 down to beat Troyes 3-2 at home.
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 Emery could be replaced.
”We needed this win to get our rhythm and confidence back,” PSG center half Presnel Kimpembe said. ”Criticism is normal in football. But everyone’s used to it here.”
Midfielder Marco Verratti said the players were backing Emery.
”He’s doing a good job,” Verratti said.
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.
After halftime, Lille clumsily gave away possession trying to pass from the back, Edinson Cavani won the ball and found Di Maria, who fed Pastore for a neat finish.
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. But the ball was hacked away and Mbappe sprinted through to score.
Striker Guido Carrillo came off the bench to rescue Monaco with two late goals against Troyes.
South Korea striker Suk Hyun-jun struck twice to put the visitors 2-0 up after 50 minutes.
After an own goal from defender Mathieu Deplagne gave Monaco a lifeline with 20 minutes remaining, Carrillo pounced with close-range finishes in the 84th and 88th.
It was a welcome win for Monaco, which this week went out of the group stages of the Champions League having reached the semifinals last season.
Montpellier still has the best defense in the league despite allowing Angers to draw 1-1.
Veteran forward Jimmy Briand scored one and made won as Guingamp beat 10-man Dijon 4-0 at home to climb into ninth place.
Toulouse moved away from the relegation zone with a 2-0 home win against Caen, but Metz was rooted in last place after drawing with Rennes 1-1 at home.
Third-place Lyon travels to mid-table Amiens and fourth-place Marseille hosts floundering Saint-Etienne.
They are separated on goal difference and three points behind Monaco.
Also, fifth-place Nantes hosts Nice.