Neymar absence no problem for PSG as leaders sweep aside Amiens

Paris St Germain shrugged off the absence of Brazil star Neymar as they stretched their yawning Ligue 1 advantage to 13 points by edging out the 10 men of Amiens 3-0.

Neymar has been linked with a sensational return to Barcelona in recent days but there was not thought to be anything sinister in his exclusion from the matchday squad on Saturday after he was allowed Thursday and Friday off from training in order to rest.

And though it took a while for the breakthrough to come, Thomas Tuchel was ultimately correct in his assessment that he would not be needed against Amiens, who were ultimately brushed aside as PSG’s imperious domestic form continued.

Not that they had everything their own way until after the break.

Despite PSG’s complete dominantion of possession and with the shots at goal piling up, Amiens provided dogged resistance until just before the hour mark when Edinson Cavani finally broke the deadlock from the penalty spot.

And after Abdul Adenon saw red in the 66th minute, Kylian Mbappe provided the killer blow to finish the hosts off.

Julian Draxler was the first to test Regis Gurtner, firing straight at the keeper after eight minutes, with Cavani then going close with a follow-up attempt.

PSG were coming forward in waves, with Angel Di Maria sending a shot high and wide before Mbappe forced another save out of the keeper.

It was one-way traffic throughout the half, but after Marquinhos headed over from a late corner, the sides went in still level at the break.

The second half was slower to get going, but it came to life after 10 minutes when Alexis Blin was penalised for a handball in the area and Cavani slotted the spot-kick into the bottom right-hand corner of the goal.

Amiens had little chance to recover before they were down to 10 men, with Adenon bringing down Mbappe to earn his second yellow card. From then on, there was no doubt about the outcome.

Further punishment was quick to follow with Mbappe doubling the lead four minutes later, teed up by Cavani as PSG hit Amiens on the break.

For all the resistance they had shown in the first half, Amiens were completely overrun once a man down, and Marquinhos added a third in the 79th minute when he headed home from Julian Draxler’s corner.

Dani Alves and Cavani had late chances to add to the lead, but it would have been little more than window-dressing with the three points already secured.

The win sends PSG 13 points clear of second-placed Lille and still with two games in hand, having reached the 50-point marker from 18 matches and with a goal difference of +43.

- Press Association


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