PARIS, France, Nov 7 – Angel Di Maria scored twice as Paris Saint-Germain made short work of Rennes despite a raft of absences in a 3-0 win on Saturday that enables the champions to hold onto their lead at the top of Ligue 1.
Di Maria struck in each half, with Moise Kean scoring the other, to move PSG up to 24 points, five ahead of second-placed Lille who take on Brest in Sunday’s early fixture.
Rennes stay third on 18 points — but can be overtaken by Nice should they beat Monaco on Sunday — while Montpellier are a further point back in sixth after their 2-0 win at Bordeaux.
PSG’s win was their eighth in a row in the French top flight and came as under-fire coach Thomas Tuchel battles with an injury crisis that has left him without the likes of Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Marco Verratti.
Striker Mauro Icardi was also out, Marquinhos was moved back into the defence following injury to centre-back Presnel Kimpembe, while Pablo Sarabia failed to overcome a muscle strain.
“I’m very happy, very proud. It was difficult to work ot a starting XI,” said Tuchel.
“We showed great mentality, collective effort and solidarity. It’s a really good win.”
New arrival Kean put the hosts ahead after 10 minutes with his third Ligue 1 goal of the season when he collected Di Maria’s pass following pressure on the Rennes defence and lashed a low shot past Alfred Gomis.
Di Maria then added the second 10 minutes later when Ander Herrera picked him out with a fine through ball and he dinked his finish over Gomis.
PSG suffered what looked to be more injury strife when Thilo Kehrer left the field 10 minutes before the end of the first half, before Kean then began limping on the hour mark before being substituted shortly afterwards.
The result was never really in doubt however, and Di Maria made absolutely sure of the points in the 73rd minute when his low drive squirmed past the unfortunate Gomis.
A thumping win over Rennes is unlikely to improve Tuchel’s precarious position at PSG though as last season’s Champions League finalists struggle in this year’s edition.
The 47-year-old German, whose contract is up at the end of this campaign, is rumoured to be in his last season in the French capital after PSG lost 2-1 at RB Leipzig on Wednesday to leave them with two defeats out of three in the competition’s group stage.
It has become an open secret that Tuchel does not get on with Leonardo, PSG’s powerful sporting director, who did not hire the German and wants to bring in his own man.