PSG sweep past Nimes as troubled Marseille blow two-goal lead

PARIS (AFP) – Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) shrugged off the absence of a suspended Neymar to beat basement side Nimes 3-0 in Ligue 1 on Wednesday, while crisis-hit rivals Marseille let slip a two-goal lead against Lens.

Angel di Maria pounced on a misplaced pass to steer PSG ahead on 17 minutes at the Parc des Princes, with Pablo Sarabia heading in a cross from the Argentine to double the advantage.

Thilo Kehrer rattled the crossbar at a corner before PSG goalkeeper Sergio Rico, again filling in for the injured Keylor Navas, reacted sharply to tip over from Lamine Fomba.

Kylian Mbappe bagged a third for the hosts midway through the second half with a superb curling strike from 20 yards, his league-leading 15th goal of the season.

PSG surrendered top spot at the weekend following a shock 3-2 loss at Lorient, Mauricio Pochettino’s first defeat since taking charge, and remain three points back of leaders Lille ahead of Sunday’s trip to Marseille.

Paris Saint-Germain’s (PSG) French forward Kylian Mbappe (L) celebrates after scoring a goal with head coach Mauricio Pochettino. PHOTO: AFP

After three league defeats in a row, Marseille surged 2-0 ahead at Lens as Florian Thauvin and Arkadiusz Milik, making his first start for the club, struck near the end of the first half.

But Florian Sotoca halved the deficit right after half-time and Facundo Medina flicked in the equaliser with an hour gone, the 2-2 draw leaving Marseille with just one win in 10 games in all competitions.

Nasser Larguet, head of the club’s academy, took control of the team following the suspension of coach Andre-Villas-Boas on Tuesday. The Portuguese had earlier offered to resign following a row over transfers.

Lille recorded their fifth consecutive victory with a 3-0 win at Bordeaux.

Yusuf Yazici, Timothy Weah and Jonathan David scored second-half goals as Lille stayed out in front of chasing duo Lyon and PSG.

Yazici slammed a pass from Jonathan Bamba into the roof of the net on 54 minutes as Lille eventually broke down Bordeaux.

US international Weah then applied the finishing touch from a Luiz Araujo lay-off as the Brazilian ran free of the Bordeaux defence following a blistering counter-attack just past the hour.

Lille goalkeeper Mike Maignan made a superb reflex save to turn away Hwang Ui-jo’s header, and the visitors added a late third through Canadian substitute David.

Lyon stay two points behind Lille after their 1-0 victory at struggling Dijon, who are still winless at home this term.

Brazilian midfielder Lucas Paqueta collected a pass from Karl Toko Ekambi to slot in the game’s only goal on 22 minutes.

Monaco made it six wins from six in the new year as captain Wissam Ben Yedder netted twice in a 2-1 victory over Cote d’Azur neighbours Nice.

Ben Yedder’s first-half penalty was cancelled out by a Pierre Lees-Melou goal, but the France striker rifled in a free-kick from distance to keep Niko Kovac’s side within touch of the top three.