Paris Saint-Germain defeated Le Havre 2-0 on Sunday, thanks to goals from Kylian Mbappe and Vitinha, after ‘keeper Gianluigi Donnarumma was sent off early.
Despite the two-goal victory, PSG needed to be resilient to keep the hosts at bay and move four points clear of Nice in the league.
After being reduced to 10 men in the 10th minute, a magnificent Mbappe goal, his 15th in the league this season, gave the visitors the lead, but the points were only secured with one minute remaining in regular time when Portuguese player Vitinha doubled the score.
“(I am) very proud of what the team showed, the mentality, the ability to adapt to the different things that happened during the game and the team spirit,” Luis Enrique, the head coach of PSG, stated.
“We were more determined to defend than usual, and we defended very well.”
“We didn’t concede too many chances and the ones we did concede were saved by Arnau (Tenas),” he said.
The 22-year-old reserve custodian, who joined PSG on a free transfer from Barcelona in the summer, made a surprise professional debut when he was called on with 12 minutes remaining.
“He (Tenas) is evidently a top pro, he trains every day like it is his last,” Enrique went on to say.
The red card
Le Havre got off to a fast start, winning a string of early corners, one of which caused the visitors to make a substitution after Fabian Ruiz injured his right shoulder defending a set-piece.
However, it was a long ball that finally broke down the Parisian defence after Nordi Mukiele failed to cope with a clearance, allowing Josue Casimir to nip in before being stopped by Donnarumma.
The Italian’s desperate attempt to clear the ball resulted in his catching the Le Havre player on the shoulder quite high outside the box, leaving the referee with no choice but to brandish a red card.
Despite their numerical disadvantage and the loss of forward Bradley Barcola, who was sacrificed for custodian Tenas, PSG scored first.
Mbappe’s first touch carried him inside the defender, and with a yard of space, he wrong-footed the goaltender from inside the D, scored via the post.
Just before the hour mark, Mohamed Bayo shot tamely at Tenas from a promising position, before Dembele struck across goal, the ball brushing against the far post.
Only a brilliant stop by Tenas in the 64th minute and a crucial sliding interception by Danilo Pereira three minutes later kept PSG’s lead intact.
But it was Dembele and PSG who had the finest chance to score the game’s second goal in the 70th minute, but a retreating Christopher Operi foiled the winger.
With 12 minutes remaining, Tenas came to the league leaders’ rescue once more, making a fantastic double save at his near post from Nabil Alioui.
In the 89th minute, a PSG excursion into Le Havre territory resulted in Vitinha attempting his luck from distance, with a big deflection forcing the ball to loop over the helpless custodian.
Monaco closed the gap to two points with a 2-0 win at home to Montpellier in Sunday’s afternoon kick-offs, capitalising on Nice’s slip-up on Saturday.
Takumi Minamino put the hosts ahead after nine minutes, and Wissam Ben Yedder sealed the victory two minutes into extra time in the second half.
Brest defeated Clermont 3-0, due to a brace from Romain Del Castillo and a goal from Mathias Pereira Lage.
Bamba Dieng’s 91st-minute equaliser clinched a share of the spoils between Toulouse and Lorient after Thijs Dallinga gave the hosts the lead with 72 minutes remaining.