Neymar returns to help PSG beat Lille and extend Ligue 1 lead
November 23, 2019 01:45 PM NPT
Soccer Football - Ligue 1 - Paris St Germain v Lille - Parc des Princes, Paris, France - November 22, 2019 Paris St Germain's Mauro Icardi celebrates scoring their first goal with teammates REUTERS/Christian Hartmann
PARIS, Nov 23: Paris St Germain’s Brazil forward Neymar made his comeback from injury as they enjoyed a 2-0 home win over Lille on Friday to move a provisional 11 points clear at the top of Ligue 1.
First-half goals from Mauro Icardi and Angel Di Maria put the hosts ahead and Lille never seriously threatened a comeback.
Neymar had not featured for the champions since Oct. 5 due to a hamstring problem but returned to the starting lineup to help his side ease to victory at the Parc des Princes.
PSG moved to 33 points ahead of second-placed Olympique Marseille, who visit second-bottom Toulouse on Sunday, while Lille are seventh on 19.
Lille manager Christophe Galtier suffered a blow this week when he lost his assistant Joao Sacramento, who left the club to join new Tottenham Hotspur boss Jose Mourinho’s backroom team.
PSG coach Thomas Tuchel started with Kylian Mbappe on the bench due to an illness, while selecting Argentine Icardi ahead of Edinson Cavani to spearhead the attack.
His decision was soon justified as Icardi bundled in Idrissa Gueye’s low cross after 17 minutes to bring his tally this term to six goals in seven league matches and 10 in all competitions.
Neymar delighted the home crowd with some delightful touches as the hosts continued to threaten, and they doubled their lead just after the half-hour mark when Di Maria found space in the box to curl a finish into the far corner.
PSG midfielder Julian Draxler came close after the break as he shot over with just the keeper to beat before firing against the foot of the post, while substitute Cavani squandered a good chance by scooping a finish over the bar in added time.
It was a routine win for Tuchel’s side, who travel to Real Madrid in the Champions League on Tuesday, while Lille host last year’s semi-finalists Ajax Amsterdam on Wednesday.