NEYMAR SCORED TWICE as Paris Saint-Germain claimed a hard-earned 2-0 victory over Lille to extend their lead at the top of Ligue 1 to 10 points.
Having opened the scoring with a sublime strike in the 28th minute of Sunday’s encounter at Stade Pierre-Mauroy, Neymar doubled his tally with a penalty early in the second half.
After netting his second goal, Neymar appeared to pay tribute to Los Angeles Lakers legend Kobe Bryant, who was reported to have died in a helicopter crash on Sunday.
Lille felt harshly treated by the VAR for PSG’s second, though they were fortunate Mauro Icardi and Kylian Mbappe squandered chances to further the visitors’ lead as a 14-match unbeaten home league run came to an end.
Luiz Araujo’s long-range effort forced Keylor Navas into a save nine minutes in as Lille took the game straight to the league leaders.
But a moment of sheer brilliance from Neymar gave PSG the lead, the Brazil star combining with Marco Verratti before curling an exquisite finish into the top-right corner.
Mbappe would have made it 2-0 if not for Gabriel’s block, but Lille might have been level had Presnel Kimpembe not got a toe to Victor Osimhen’s strike.
With substitute Tanguy Kouassi having denied Osimhen a tap-in, Mike Maignan made a brave stop to keep out Mbappe at the other end moments later, yet to Lille’s chagrin, PSG were awarded a penalty for a handball by Reinildo.
Lille’s frustration was compounded by the VAR not deeming there to have been a foul by Idrissa Gueye in the build-up, with Neymar’s penalty just squeezing beyond Maignan.
Icardi should have done better with a near-post header and Mbappe failed to beat Maignan as PSG looked to add to their lead, but the visitors ultimately settled for a two-goal cushion, while Loic Remy saw a stoppage-time consolation disallowed for offside.
PSG slumped to a shock 5-1 defeat in the corresponding fixture last term, but despite Lille’s positive approach, Thomas Tuchel’s side just had too much this time around. They are now 10 points clear at the top of Ligue 1 after second-placed Marseille drew at home to Angers.
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PSG’s number 10 missed the chance to set a new club record of goals in consecutive games when he failed to net in the Coupe de la Ligue triumph over Reims last time out, but he rediscovered his scoring form in sensational style here, brilliantly controlling Angel Di Maria’s pass before exchanging passes with Verratti and expertly picking out the top corner.