Neymar's injury takes shine off PSG's convincing win in Le Classique
PARIS -- Paris Saint-Germain beat bitter rivals Marseille 3-0 at Parc des Princes on Sunday to go 14 points clear at the top of Ligue 1, but Neymar's late ankle injury dampened the French capital outfit's celebrations.
Kylian Mbappe and Edinson Cavani both scored, as well as a Rolando own goal, to ensure a three-point haul in Le Classique days before the two sides do it all again in the Coupe de France, but the countdown to Real Madrid in the Champions League is now well and truly on for Neymar.
In the first of a domestic doubleheader against Marseille, PSG needed to win -- especially after Monaco's draw away at Toulouse -- and Unai Emery's men did just that.
Not only did Les Parisiens triumph, they did so in convincing fashion, looking in control from the moment Mbappe capitalised on Jordan Amavi's mistake to open the scoring. The hosts bossed proceedings from start to finish.
Although Neymar's injury somewhat took the shine off of the victory, the atmosphere generated at Parc des Princes and the spirit shown by the supporters and the players bodes well ahead of the Real return leg.
There were few things to grumble about in PSG's win over Marseille until Neymar seemingly rolled his ankle late on. From the moment that the Brazilian superstar went down, after another evening of heavy tackles but this time unchallenged, it looked bad. Neymar is immediately a doubt to feature against OM in the Coupe de France and he will probably miss Troyes in Ligue 1 too, whether it is because of the injury or due to Emery resting him.
Manager rating out of 10
7 -- Emery went with a strong starting XI, with Lassana Diarra in defensive midfield instead of Thiago Motta or Giovani Lo Celso (who was pushed further forward), as was rewarded with a convincing win. However, the Spaniard can be questioned for not withdrawing Neymar with the game won after another series of hefty tackles.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Alphonse Areola, 7 -- It was a commanding display and the youth academy graduate played through the pain barrier late on after a number of saves on a bitterly cold night in Paris.
DF Dani Alves, 6 -- Not at his best but still up for the occasion. The Brazil international picked up a booking and was on the receiving end of a foul that should have seen (but did not) Lucas Ocampos sent off.
DF Marquinhos, 6 -- Outshone by central defensive partner Thiago Silva, it was still a solid-enough 90-minute outing for the younger Brazilian.
DF Thiago Silva, 7 -- Back to his authoritative best, the captain did not need to excel but was still the leading figure in the back line and made one particularly important late block to keep Marseille out. However, he did also pick up a yellow card.
DF Layvin Kurzawa, 5 -- Yet another mediocre -- at best -- display from the France international, who continues to look dangerous going forward but dodgy at the back. Involved in Rolando's own goal but little else of note.
MF Lassana Diarra, 7 -- Although he was booked against his former club, the Frenchman looked good in the deep-lying midfield role for an hour before making way for Motta.
MF Giovani Lo Celso, 5 -- It was not the most convincing of showings from the Argentina international, and it was a rare chance to impress in a more advanced midfield role.
MF Adrien Rabiot, 6 -- With Diarra handed the start in defensive midfield and Lo Celso pushed forward to replace the injured Marco Verratti, Rabiot needed to provide some consistency in midfield. The Frenchman succeeded in doing that and was involved in the buildup to Rolando's own goal.
FW Kylian Mbappe, 8 -- It was a huge improvement on his first taste of Le Classique in Marseille and the France international needed just 10 minutes to open the scoring in a dangerous overall performance.
FW Edinson Cavani, 7 -- Yet another demonstration from El Matador that when the big matches roll around, you can count on him to show up. The Uruguayan's turn and finish to make it 3-0 was sublime and PSG need more of the same in the Coupe de France and then against Real. He did get booked, though.
FW Neymar, 7 -- A late ankle injury will have the Brazil international and his club worried about his fitness pre-Real, and it could have been avoided had Emery withdrawn him after Cavani made it 3-0. The Basque tactician did not, and despite setting up his strike partner's goal in a decent showing, his night will be remembered because of his injury and not what he did before that.
MF Thiago Motta, 5 -- Given 30 minutes to continue his return to match fitness, the veteran Italian shored up the midfield but got booked in the process.
FW Angel Di Maria, 6 -- Also given half an hour to add to the lead, the Argentina international went close with a late effort but also picked up a yellow card.
MF Julian Draxler, NR -- Handed 20 minutes at the end, the German was not much of an improvement on Lo Celso.
Jonathan Johnson covers PSG and the French national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @Jon_LeGossip.