Neymar Jr and Edinson Cavani scored late goals as Paris Saint-Germain saw off plucky ESTAC Troyes 2-0 at the Parc des Princes to further extend their lead at the top of the Ligue 1 Conforama table.
Paris Saint-Germain 2 – 0 ESTAC Troyes
With this game coming in the midst of a hectic spell for PSG, coach Unai Emery opted to rotate his squad, making six changes to the side that started Sunday’s 2-1 win away to AS Monaco.
Presnel Kimpembe, Thomas Meunier, Ángel di María and Javier Pastore all came in, while Giovani Lo Celso made his first start of the campaign and Kevin Trapp appeared in goal for the first time this season.
So many changes meant PSG struggled to find their usual rhythm, while the closure of the Auteuil end of the Parc des Princes after incidents during the win over OGC Nice last month did not help either. There was certainly no danger of them repeating their 9-0 win when they last played Troyes in Champagne country in March 2016.
Cavani misses penalty
Mid-table Troyes gave their hosts a good game, although they were lucky to remain on level terms at the break after Cavani missed a penalty. It was the Uruguayan’s turn on penalty duties after Neymar netted at the weekend in Monaco, but he saw his kick saved by Mamadou Samassa after he had been held back by Karim Azamoum in the box (41′).
It was beginning to look like the breakthrough would not come when Emery sent on Kylian Mbappé and Adrien Rabiot midway through the second half. The vital opening goal arrived in the 73rd minute, Neymar collecting the ball 25 yards out and advancing towards the edge of the area where he sent a low left-foot shot across Samassa and into the far corner.
Troyes remained a threat with South Korean forward Suk Hyun-Jun looking lively after coming off the bench, but Paris held firm and made sue of the points in the 90th minute as Neymar set up Cavani, who took a touch and lashed home his 17th Ligue 1 Conforama goal of the season.
With Olympique Lyonnais and Monaco losing earlier, PSG are now 10 points clear at the top of the table from Olympique de Marseille, and remain unbeaten in all competitions this season.
THE PLAYER: Neymar Jr
This should have been a night for PSG to showcase their strength in depth, but those handed rare starts by Emery struggled to make an impression. Instead it was the world’s most expensive player – who is unlikely to be left out of the team as long as he is fit – who made the difference, not for the first time since his arrival in France.
THE STAT: 15
Neymar has been directly involved in 15 goals in his first 11 Ligue 1 Conforama starts, scoring nine goals and setting up six more.