Paris Saint-Germain extended their lead at the top of Ligue 1 to 13 points after a convincing 5-1 win against reigning champions Lille at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy on Sunday night.
PSG coach Mauricio Pochettino unleashed a front three of Kylian Mbappé, Angel Di Maria and Lionel Messi, whilst former Parisian Hatem Ben Arfa was handed a first start by Lille boss Jocelyn Gourvennec in what promised to be a battle of attacking styles.
PSG were presented with a gift to break the deadlock when Lille ‘keeper Ivo Grbic spilled Nuno Mendes’ cross and Danilo tapped home from close-range in the tenth minute.
Lille equalised just before half-hour when Hatem Ben Arfa beat Angel Di Maria before turning provider for Sven Botman to beat Gianluigi Donnarumma from 10 yards before another Grbic howler enabled Presnel Kimpembe to score from five yards to restore the Parisians’ advantage.
PSG gave themselves a two-goal cushion seven minutes before the break when Messi delightfully chipped Grbic from 12 yards to score just his second league goal of the season. The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner then went close again on the stroke of half-time when his superb free-kick crashed off the crossbar with Grbic stranded.
PSG were in no mood to let their opponents off the hook and went for the jugular against the side that pipped them for the title on the final day of last season.
Danilo added his second of the night early in the second half before PSG saved the best for last, when Mbappé curled in a sumptuous effort from 20 yards.
PSG have one more game to fine tune themselves for the visit of Real Madrid in the Champions League and Pochettino will be hoping for more of the same on Friday night against Rennes at the Parc des Princes.
The result means PSG have put more daylight between themselves and second-placed Marseille, whilst Lille dropped one place to 11th.
TALKING POINT: PSG ARE IMPROVING
In what has been a frustrating season of performances from Paris Saint-Germain, Sunday’s 5-1 thrashing of Lille felt as though Mauricio Pochettino’s side are starting to turn up the gears ahead of a crucial period for the club.
The recent performances of Danilo and Nuno Mendes and the return of Achraf Hakimi from AFCON duty with Morocco will be a welcome boost for the leaders but the blossoming relationship between Kylian Mbappé and Lionel Messi will be most pleasing for the capital club, who are expected to welcome back Neymar from injury for their crunch Champions League clash with Real Madrid in nine days.
MAN OF THE MATCH: DANILO
The Portuguese international has enjoyed a renaissance of late and his performance at Lille was arguably his best since joining Paris Saint-Germain in 2020. Excellent both with and without the ball, Danilo provided the midfield engine PSG needed against the reigning Ligue 1 champions. Danilo has now score three goals in his last three games – a welcome but unexpected return for Mauricio Pochettino.
Lille: Grbic 3, Gudmundsson 5, Botman 6, Fonte 5, Celik 5, Weah 5, Andre 5, Onana 5, Bamba 6, Ben Arfa 6, David 5. Subs: Bradaric 5 , Zhegrova n/a, Gomes 5.
PSG: Donnarumma 6, Nuno Mendes 7, Kimpembe 7, Marquinhos 7, Paredes 6, Danilo 8, Verratti 7, Di Maria 6, Messi 7, Mbappé 7. Subs: Kehrer n/a, Draxler 6, Simons n/a.
10′ GOAL! LILLE 0-1 PSG (Danilo) A huge blunder from Lille ‘keeper Grbic as he spills Nuno Mendes’ cross to give Danilo the simple task of tapping home from close range. The leaders are in front!
33′ GOAL! LILLE 1-2 PSG (Presnel Kimpembe) PSG regain the lead. Poor play again from Grbic who flaps at a corner, leaving Kimpembe to slot home unmarked from 5 yards. 2-1 to the leaders.
38′ GOAL! LILLE 1-3 PSG (Lionel Messi) After great work from Mbappé the ball falls to Messi who delicately chips Grbic from 12 yards. A delightful finish from the Argentine to score just his second Ligue 1 goal of the season.
51′ GOAL! LILLE 1-4 PSG (Danilo) Danilo grabs his second of the evening and third in his last three games as his deflected shot form the edge of the area beats Grbic. PSG are well in control now!
67′ GOAL! LILLE 1-5 PSG (Kylian Mbappé) Kylian Mbappé hits a fantastic strike fro 20 yards into the top corner giving Grbic no chance. PSG have been so clinical tonight. 5-1 to the leaders