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Ligue 1

Ligue 1: Neymar, PSG Leave No Doubt Who’s In Charge

MONACO, MONACO - NOVEMBER 26: (L-R) Neymar Jr of Paris Saint Germain, Fabinho of AS Monaco during the French League 1 match between AS Monaco v Paris Saint Germain at the Stade Louis II on November 26, 2017 in Monaco Monaco (Photo by Eric Verhoeven/Soccrates/Getty Images)

Unai Emery’s Paris Saint-Germain knew that they needed to get a positive result against Leonardo Jardim’s AS Monaco at the Stade Louis II to remind the world who is in charge of the affairs of French club football. A workmanlike 2-1 win on the road wasn’t exactly the outcome they wanted as they made a meal of their chances, but it was the outcome they needed to gain separation from the Monegasques and Bruno Genesio’s Olympique Lyonnais, who moved into second on goal differential.

“Even though others teams work well and get very good results, we’re really happy with what we’re producing on the pitch,” said captain Thiago Silva on the club’s current form. “Having said that, the season is long. We have to keep working to improve and play even better, and achieve our goals.

“Honestly, this is the best team in which I have played, mentally, physically and technically. We’re really very good. But what I want to point out is that it’s not only 11 players. It’s a very unified, united squad, with players that push each other onwards and upwards. A successful team needs a strong and united squad, and that’s what we are. We score a lot, it’s not easy to score that many goals. We have an exceptional attack, but everyone takes part in our attacking. Thanks to that, we have the means to win a lot of trophies.”

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A more subdued performance in terms of production awaited the Parisians against Monaco, but they dominated possession (67 percent to 33 percent), shots (16 to 13) and corners (four to one). Danijel Subasic had three saves to reduce PSG’s damage but it wasn’t enough.

Edinson Cavani opened the scouring in the 19th minute and Neymar Santos Jr.’s 52nd minute penalty proved to be the difference as Joao Moutinho pulled on back in the 81st minute of play. In his return to Monaco, Kylian Mbappe missed several chances to convert and got a bit of a comeuppance as Moutinho’s goal came off his deflection.

“I think that life got a bit complicated at the end of the match,” said Marco Verratti. “Monaco were pushing a bit at the end. We created a lot but were unable to score. It is good making those chances but they also need to be taken. We suffered a little at the end. Monaco are a great team and we are happy to win here — it is never straightforward. This result gives us confidence — we need to keep going like this.”

PSG will look to maintain that level of performance with a couple of tune-up games for Bayern Munich against lower-level Ligue 1 opposition. PSG host ESTAC Troyes at Le Parc des Princes on Nov. 29 while they are away to RC Strasbourg Alsace on Dec. 2.

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