Paris Saint-Germain 2-1 Marseille: Neymar and Mbappe strike in tense Classique victory
Neymar and Kylian Mbappe scored first-half goals as Paris Saint-Germain moved one step closer to securing another Ligue 1 crown.FotMob - last year
Paris Saint-Germain came out on top 2-1 in a tight tussle with Marseille in Sunday's Classique, with Neymar and Kylian Mbappe securing the bragging rights.
All three goals were scored before half-time in a match that was far from classic between Ligue 1's top two teams.
Duje Caleta-Car had cancelled out Neymar's opener, before Mbappe struck from the penalty spot to restore parity, with Marseille having what they thought was an equaliser disallowed by VAR late on.
The win maintains PSG's strong form after Mauricio Pochettino's side won their previous two fixtures 5-1 and 6-1, and moves them closer to putting the finishing touches on regaining the Ligue 1 title.
The game's first goal came from the first real chance in the 12th minute – Marco Verratti delivering a perfect throughball, with Neymar looping a volley over the charging goalkeeper.
Marseille got back on level terms 19 minutes later, though, with Gianluigi Donnarumma unable to clear Dimitri Payet's corner and, as it pin-balled around the six-yard box, Caleta-Car took the opportunity to force it in.
Lionel Messi saw a goal ruled out for offside but PSG retook the lead deep into first-half stoppage time when a VAR check found that a hopeful chipped pass from Neymar connected with an arm of Valentin Rongier – Mbappe slamming the resultant penalty hard into the bottom-left corner.
Messi and Mbappe combined brilliantly in the 76th minute, but the offside flag again denied PSG. However, the hosts were the beneficiaries of a tight decision at the other end soon after.
William Saliba tucked in coolly from Payet's free-kick to seemingly draw Marseille level, only for VAR to spot the defender had strayed offside.
What does it mean? Marseille fall short
With the win, Paris Saint-Germain are now 15 points clear of Marseille atop the Ligue 1 table, with six games remaining in the season.
Marseille came into the clash at Parc des Princes having won their previous four league outings, but they did not show their best as PSG edged ahead in the overall head-to-head record between the sides, with this their 33rd win from 85 Ligue 1 encounters. Marseille are on 32 victories.
Versatile Verratti impresses
Verratti was the driving force behind Paris Saint-Germain's first hour of play – both with the ball and defensively. In a near-perfect opening 60 minutes, he created an equal team-high two clear chances, was one of two PSG players to win possession back cleanly with a tackle, and completed his first 41 passes at 100 per cent accuracy before finally missing a target.
He finished with the second-most completed passes for PSG (62) and a team-high five final-third entries before being subbed in the 88th minute.
Marseille winger Cengiz Under had a game to forget, finishing with just 11 completed passes, no touches in PSG's penalty area and no shots before being subbed off at half-time.
Key Opta Facts
- PSG are unbeaten in their last 19 games at home in Ligue 1 (W18 D1), scoring 50 goals. They have won their last eight home games.
- Only ten shots were attempted in this game, the fewest tally in a Ligue 1 match this season.
- PSG are the only team in the top five European leagues yet to drop points after leading this season. They have won each of the 17 Ligue 1 games in which they have scored first.
- Marseille have kept just one clean sheet in their last 11 Ligue 1 games (15 goals conceded), that was against Montpellier on 10 April (2-0).
- No player has scored more goals in the Classique in Ligue 1 than Mbappe (seven).
PSG will host Angers in more Ligue 1 action on Wednesday, while on the same night Marseille host Nantes.