Paris Saint-Germain continued their recent dominance of Le Classique with a 3-1 victory over Marseille at the Parc des Princes.
Kylian Mbappe’s 26th league goal of the season gave PSG the half-time lead but Valere Germain equalised right at the start of the second half.
Angel Di Maria struck either side of a red card for Marseille goalkeeper Steve Mandanda to seal the win and move PSG ever nearer to another Ligue 1 title.
Mbappe could have made the scoreline more emphatic but he saw an injury-time penalty saved by back-up keeper Yohann Pele.
The win was PSG’s fourth in a row against their rivals and saw Thomas Tuchel’s team extend their lead at the top of Ligue 1 to 20 points.
Marseille stay fourth, six points behind Lyon, after seeing their six-match unbeaten run, which included five victories, come to an end.
Mandanda almost gifted PSG an early lead with an embarrassing mistake. Duje Caleta-Car made what should have been a routine back pass, only for the veteran goalkeeper to slice the ball and almost kick it into his own net.
The ball rolled wide for a corner, which Marseille spared Mandanda’s blushes by clearing away.
Marseille had another escape shortly afterwards. Di Maria thought he had opened the scoring after 15 minutes with a lovely chip over Mandanda but his effort was chalked off after the referee consulted the Video Assistant Referee.
PSG were having a lot of possession without really creating anything, although Thomas Meunier forced Mandanda to tip his shot over the crossbar midway through the first half.
The hosts were forced to change things just after the half-hour mark with Meunier and Dani Alves having to come off. Colin Dagba and Thilo Kehrer replaced the injured pair.
Despite the double setback, PSG went into half-time ahead. Mbappe’s goal came from a Marseille corner which was cleared upfield to Di Maria, who laid the ball off into the 20-year-old’s path to finish with a first-time shot.
Marseille responded well to falling behind and they were level straight from the kick-off at the start of the second half. Lucas Ocampos got the better of Marquinhos down the left and crossed the ball for Germain to sweep home a low shot.
However, it quickly went wrong for the visitors. Di Maria, denied earlier by VAR, got his name on the scoresheet with a shot from a tight angle to restore PSG’s lead after 55 minutes.
The Argentinian was in the thick of the action and it was his break forward five minutes later which prompted Mandanda to charge from his goal and handle the ball outside of his penalty area. The referee had no option but to issue a red card.
Down to 10 men, Mario Balotelli was the man sacrificed to allow Pele to come on in goal. His first involvement was to pick the ball out of his net as Di Maria curled home a fine shot from the resulting free-kick.
Marseille put their remaining players behind the ball thereafter in an attempt to keep the scoreline respectable, although PSG were presented with the opportunity of a fourth goal in injury time when Mbappe was tripped inside the penalty area by Hiroki Sakai.
Di Maria was denied the chance of a hat-trick as Mbappe took the spot-kick himself, but his effort was saved by Pele.
Kylian Mbappe still believes in Paris Saint-Germain’s sporting project and will stay at the French club.
The talented youngster was witness to his team throwing away a 2-0 advantage from the first leg of their last-16 clash in the Champions League to Manchester United last week – the Ligue 1 giants lost 3-1 to exit on aways goals.
The Frenchman has decided to stand by his club during this tough time and maintains he has faith in the club’s project.
“After what has happened, I keep believing in this project and I’m sure that we will do something good for this club,” he told Telefoot.
“I will stay at this club, that’s for sure.”
However, the forward did admit that he is still shocked by their elimination. “I’m in shock, there are no words and I haven’t been able to sleep,” he admitted.
“The stadium was full, the fans did their work and supported us and the atmosphere was marvelous. We didn’t want to ruin it, but in the end we did ruin it.
“If we were eliminated it’s because it’s possible that we weren’t as good as we should have been.”
Paris Saint-Germain defender Presnel Kimpembe has admitted that the team took Manchester United lightly ahead of Wednesday’s shock 3-1 home defeat in the second leg of their Champions League round of 16 tie.
It was a result that saw the Ligue 1 leaders crash out of the competition after becoming the first side to fail to qualify after winning the first leg away from home by two or more goals.
Kimpembe was one of the central figures in the tie, escaping a red card and then scoring the opening goal soon after in the first leg, then giving away the crucial – and controversial – injury-time penalty in the second leg that allowed United to complete their comeback.
The 23-year-old said he understood the fans’ pain as PSG exited the Champions League at the last-16 stage for the third straight season.
Last year, the Parisians were leading Real Madrid 1-0 in Madrid in the first leg before conceding on the stroke of half-time and then twice more late in the game, leaving themselves too big a deficit to overcome in the second leg, while the year before that was the season of the infamous ‘Remontada’ when they beat Barcelona 4-0 in the first leg only to lose 6-1 in Spain in the second.
“It hurts me, very bad even, I feel what the fans feel,” he said on Youtube’s Brog Stories channel.
“I can see their anger, I realise it, I understand it and, most importantly, I assume it so that I can swallow it. It’s a game that inevitably stays in the heads but that we will have to forget for the rest of the season.”
Kimpembe vowed that he and the rest of the team would never allow themselves to be tripped up by complacency again after saying a sense of “self-satisfaction” had permeated the side after the first leg against United.
“We lost that grit and that rage we had in the first leg,” he said. “It’s not the fact of having lived through past experiences that made us feel stressed. or whatever it was. No, it was really a self-satisfaction.
“We took this game lightly, and it’s something that will never happen to me again. It’s enough, never again.”