Di Maria sends PSG 10 points clear


Angel Di Maria grabbed a second-half winner as Paris Saint-Germain went 10 points clear at the top of Ligue 1 on Friday with a 1-0 victory at Rennes.

Argentine star Di Maria struck with a volley after fine inter-change between Marco Verratti and Lucas Moura 15 minutes from time as PSG maintained their undefeated start to the season.

The champions are 10 points clear of second-placed Angers, who travel to Monaco on Sunday, and now have gone 23 matches without losing in all competitions since being beaten by Barcelona in the Champions League quarter-finals last April.

“We controlled the match from start to finish,” said PSG coach Laurent Blanc after his team’s 10th league win this season.

PSG started with star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic on the bench with one eye on Tuesday’s Champions League trip to Real Madrid while David Luiz, Marquinhos, Javier Pastore and Edinson Cavani were all missing with injuries.

“You can’t rotate the squad and expect to have the same efficiency. The first thing to do is to win.

“And when you have matches in the Champions League, you must think of those also,” added Blanc.

Swedish star Ibrahimovic had scored five times in his last seven league games and his predatory instincts were missing in a goalless first half at Rennes who were on a six-match run without a win.

Argentine star Ezequiel Lavezzi saw a shot turned around the corner by Rennes keeper Benoit Costil.

Lavezzi had earlier just missed the target with a free-kick while, at the other end, Abdoulaye Doucoure shot over the top after a neat one-two with Juan Quintero.

After the break, PSG continued to press and the decision to summon Verratti from the bench to replace Benjamin Stambouli in the 64th minute paid dividends.

It was the Italian midfielder who played a key role in the opening goal 10 minutes later.

His magnificent pass released Brazilian teammate Lucas Moura who in turn crossed accurately for Di Maria to score his third league goal of the season.