PARIS (Reuters) – Angel Di Maria volleyed in with 15 minutes left to give ParisSaint-Germain a 1-0 win at Stade Rennais on Friday and extend their lead at the top of the Ligue 1 table to 10 points.
Di Maria found the net with his left foot after Marco Verratti released Lucas Moura with a spectacular long-range pass and the Brazilian flicked the ball back to the onrushing Argentine.
PSG face Real Madrid away in the Champions League on Tuesday and Laurent Blanc’s rotated side struggled to break down their hosts in the first half after dominating during the first 10 minutes.
However, Blanc brought on Verratti and Thiago Motta after 66 minutes and the pair were influential as the champions asserted themselves during the latter stages of the contest, with the Italian’s pass the outstanding moment of a drab contest.
“We did what we needed to do, we did our job,” midfielder Blaise Matuidi told BeIN Sports. “We needed to win here in order to take confidence into the Real Madrid match and we showed we can count on everybody.”
Match-winner Di Maria will be especially keen to prove a point against former club Real, whom he left in 2014 only three months after being named man of the match in the Champions League final victory over Atletico Madrid.
“Di Maria is a great player and (the goal) will do him good,” Matuidi continued. “I hope he can have a big match on Tuesday, for his return to the Bernabeu.”
Their 10th win in 12 league games puts undefeated PSG 10 points clear of second-placed Angers, who visit Monaco on Sunday while Rennes, who now have not won in their last seven league matches, remain in seventh.
(Reporting by Ed Dove; Editing by Mark Meadows)