Paris Saint-Germain moved to the top of Ligue 1 as Layvin Kurzawa’s solitary goal sealed a 1-0 win over Angers on Saturday.
With head coach Mauricio Pochettino self-isolating after testing positive for COVID-19, assistant coach Jesus Perez took charge of the champions at Stade Raymond Kopa.
He looked set to oversee a frustrating draw before Kurzawa’s first goal of the season 20 minutes from time secured back-to-back league wins following last weekend’s victory over Brest.
The result moved PSG two points clear of Lyon at the Ligue 1 summit, although Rudi Garcia’s side can reclaim top spot if they overcome Metz on Sunday.
— Paris Saint-Germain (@PSG_English) January 16, 2021
The hosts started in a confident mood and Pierrick Capelle forced Keylor Navas into a smart save after just two minutes.
PSG belatedly woke from their slumber, with Kylian Mbappe clipping over after racing onto Neymar’s pass before the Brazil international saw a close-range effort deflected into the side netting.
Moise Kean then glanced a header wide as PSG ended the first half having failed to register a single shot on target.
Mbappe flashed a strike into the side netting shortly after the interval, while Navas superbly kept out Lois Diony’s diving header at the other end.
Paul Bernardoni diverted Mbappe’s effort wide after the France star had been played clean through by Neymar, but the Angers goalkeeper could do little about Kurzawa’s winner.
Alessandro Florenzi’s right-wing cross was deflected into the left-back’s path and he powered home a fine volley from eight yards to secure PSG’s 10th win in 11 games against Angers.
What does it mean? PSG give isolating Pochettino a boost
PSG were far from their fluid best but Pochettino, no doubt watching on from home, will be delighted his side followed up their Trophee des Champions triumph in midweek with another maximum points haul in Ligue 1.
Angers carved out as many shots as PSG (11), but the champions will point to 61.6 per cent possession and 266 more passes as evidence they were good value for the win.
Neymar shines for visitors
He did not get on the scoresheet but Neymar was comfortably PSG’s brightest spark. The Brazilian superstar made a team-high four key passes and would have ended up with at least one assist to his name had Mbappe been more ruthless in front of goal.
Mbappe’s struggles continue
Having started the season by hitting nine goals in as many games, Mbappe has now only scored twice in his last eight games in all competitions. He had three shots – more than any other PSG player – but failed to play a single key pass before he was substituted with 10 minutes remaining.
PSG host Montpellier on Friday, while Angers are away to Bordeaux a week on Sunday.