PSG dispatch Troyes through Angel Di Maria, Christopher Nkunku goals
Angel Di Maria and Christopher Nkunku scored second-half goals as Paris Saint-Germain won 2-0 at Troyes to restore their 14-point lead atop Ligue 1.
Di Maria broke the deadlock early in the second half before Nkunku’s first goal of the season ensured a sixth consecutive league victory for PSG, who had seen their lead at the summit briefly trimmed by Monaco’s win on Friday night.
PSG made light of Neymar’s absence in their first league encounter since his season-ending injury last week, and only a brilliant display by Troyes goalkeeper Erwin Zelazny denied them a more convincing victory.
Neymar underwent surgery in Brazil on Saturday to repair a fracture to the fifth metatarsal in his right foot sustained in last week’s league win against Marseille.
PSG have lost only twice in the league this season — their last defeat, against Lyon, was in January — while Troyes remain deep in relegation trouble after winning only two of their last 10 matches.
Troyes midfielder Karim Azamoum’s early shot tested PSG goalkeeper Alphonse Areola, and at the other end, Zelazny saved twice from Di Maria.
PSG found Zelazny in fine form as he turned away Giovani Lo Celso’s effort at full stretch and kept out a low shot from Di Maria in the bottom corner.
The visitors dominated the first half without being able to find a breakthrough as Zelazny produced further saves to thwart Lo Celso, Nkunku and Di Maria again before half-time.
Zelazny was finally beaten two minutes after the restart as Di Maria raced on to Julian Draxler’s through-ball and finished low into the bottom corner.
Di Maria was off target with two more attempts soon after — the first from a tight angle — and after another clever pass from Draxler had opened up the Troyes defence, Nkunku pulled his shot wide.
PSG midfielder Thiago Motta’s low, long-range effort brought the best out of Zelazny again just after the hour mark as the visitors pressed for a second goal.
Troyes wasted two rare forays forward as midfielder Saif-Eddine Khaoui and defender Jeremy Cordoval both fired wide from the edge of the penalty area.
Draxler then blazed a shot high and wide from inside the area after being set up by Lass Diarra before PSG doubled their lead.
Dani Alves’ brilliant pass released Nkunku into the area and the midfielder dispatched a right-footed shot into the bottom corner.
Samuel Grandsir went closest for Troyes when he crashed a shot narrowly over the crossbar in the closing stages, while Zelazny pulled off further saves to deny Nkunku and Timothy Weah.
Weah, the 18-year-old son of former PSG and AC Milan striker George Weah — now the president of Liberia — came off the bench in the 79th minute to make his professional debut.