Paris Saint-Germain 2 Lille 1: Mbappe and Neymar take record-breaking hosts 11 points clear
Nov 02 2018 - 21:47
Paris Saint-Germain wrote themselves into the history books as they became the first team to win their opening 12 matches of a season across Europe's big five leagues thanks to a 2-1 triumph over Lille.
Second-place Lille looked to have done enough to frustrate the Ligue 1 pacesetters, but Kylian Mbappe and Neymar struck in the final 20 minutes to wrap up a deserved victory for Thomas Tuchel's men despite Nicolas Pepe's late penalty.
PSG never had any difficulty dominating, with Gianluigi Buffon having very little to do in goal, but in the first half the combination of poor finishing and opposition goalkeeper Mike Maignan saw the hosts grow frustrated.
However, some Mbappe brilliance finally put them ahead and Neymar sealed it six minutes from time to leave Lille 11 points adrift of PSG at the summit, with Pepe's spot-kick a mere consolation.
PSG looked to grasp early control and they first went close 11 minutes in, when Mbappe fired just wide of the bottom-left corner after linking with Neymar.
Neymar was the architect again twice in quick succession midway through the half, but Angel Di Maria – making his 100th Ligue 1 appearance – was denied by Maignan, before Marquinhos headed a corner wide from four yards.
Maignan was nearly caught out by a long-range Neymar free-kick just before the break, but he got down to push it around the post.
Mbappe produced a moment of inspiration to finally break the deadlock in the 70th minute – the France international spotting Maignan off his line and lifting a curling effort over the goalkeeper from 30 yards after Neymar's pass.
The Brazilian then got a deserved goal of his own when his 20-yard strike deflected past the helpless Maignan, effectively securing the historic victory.
Thilo Kehrer headed onto his own arm in the box and Pepe blasted the resultant spot-kick into the top-right corner in the 93rd minute, but it did little to dampen PSG's celebrations.
What does it mean? PSG in complete control
While PSG's dominance in Ligue 1 will surprise few, the gap between them and the rest is now absolutely astonishing. With just 12 matches played, they are already 11 points clear – a gap that will not decrease even if third-place Montpellier beat Marseille on Sunday. It will take something incredible to stop them retaining their crown.
Neymar was once more fundamental for Tuchel's side, with his imagination and exceptional ability keeping PSG going when they might have become exasperated by their wait to break through. His late goal was a just reward.
Kehrer the only blemish
In the grand scheme of things, Lille's late penalty makes little difference. However, it did see PSG miss out on a fifth straight clean sheet in Ligue 1 and Kehrer was to blame with a lapse in concentration.
After a hugely important Champions League trip to Napoli on Tuesday, PSG head to Monaco next Sunday. Lille host Strasbourg in a week.