• PSG have won eight matches out of eight and are 10 points clear of Marseille
Lionel Messi was again sidelined for Paris Saint-Germain and in the Argentine’s absence it was Idrissa Gana Gueye and Julian Draxler who scored as the Ligue 1 leaders beat Montpellier 2-0 on Saturday night.
Senegal midfielder Gueye crashed a shot into the roof of the net from 20 metres to give PSG an early lead at the Parc des Princes and substitute Draxler added a late second as Mauricio Pochettino’s team maintained their perfect start to the French season. They have won eight matches out of eight in Ligue 1 and are already 10 points clear of second-placed Marseille, who do nevertheless have two games in hand. However this was once again a far from completely convincing performance from PSG, who in the last week had scored stoppage-time goals to claim respective 2-1 wins against Lyon and struggling Metz.
Pochettino’s side host Manchester City in the Champions League tomorrow looking for revenge for their defeat at the hands of Pep Guardiola’s side in last season’s semi-finals. The hope is that Messi will be able to play in that match after he sat out a second straight game for PSG with the knee problem that led to him being substituted against Lyon.
Messi has made just three appearances for the club since arriving from Barcelona in early August, playing a total of 190 minutes. Not that PSG — wearing their black and grey third kit — were short on attacking options, with Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Angel di Maria all playing but failing to find the net.
Neymar clipped an effort onto the top of the bar early on and Mbappe was denied by Montpellier goalkeeper Jonas Omlin before Di Maria set up Gueye for the opener in the 14th minute. His superb left-foot strike was already his third goal this season, as many as he managed in the last two campaigns combined.
Ander Herrera’s sliced half-volley came off the bar just before half-time and PSG were surprisingly flat after the break, although they did have chances to add to their lead. The second goal only arrived in the 89th minute when Draxler, just on as a substitute, collected a Neymar pass with his first touch of the game and fired in a low shot with his second.
Meanwhile Lyon were held to a 1-1 draw at home by Lorient after playing most of the game with 10 men following the sending-off of Italian international defender Emerson Palmieri inside the first 15 minutes.
Armand Lauriente’s stunning free-kick put Lorient ahead but Karl Toko-Ekambi equalised five minutes after the break for Lyon, who with 12 points are already 12 points behind PSG.
Lille have won every single Ligue 1 game in which their Canadian star Jonathan David has found the net, a remarkable record that continued as his brace secured a 2-1 victory at Strasbourg.
Yesterday, Wissam Ben Yedder and Kevin Volland both scored as Monaco came from behind to beat Clermont 3-1 and claim successive wins for the first time this season.
Metz earned their first victory of the campaign after overcoming fellow strugglers Brest 2-1 in Brittany. Teenager Hugo Ekitike scored twice as a substitute to secure Reims a 3-1 win against Nantes, while Troyes drew 1-1 at home to Angers. Mozambique international Edson Mexer snatched a late equaliser for Bordeaux in their 1-1 draw against Rennes.
Ligue 1 results
Bordeaux 1 (Mexer 89) Rennes 1 (Laborde 56); Brest 1 (Faivre 68-pen) Metz 2 (De Preville 26, Centonze 74); Reims 3 (Foket 51, Ekitike 72, 78) Nantes 1 (Simon 62); Troyes 1 (Balde 22) Angers 1 (Mangani 65-pen); Clermont 1 (Bayo 7) Monaco 3 (Ben Yedder 26, Volland 48, Diop 90+1)
Played Saturday: Saint-Etienne 0 Nice 3 (Gouiri 15, Stengs 54, Delort 83); Strasbourg 1 (Sissoko 75) Lille 2 (David 23, 57-pen); Lyon 1 (Toko-Ekambi 50) Lorient 1 (Lauriente 20); Paris Saint-Germain 2 (Gueye 14, Draxler 89) Montpellier 0
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