Paris, October 19: Kylian Mbappe scored one and set up another on his return to action as Paris Saint-Germain claimed a 4-1 win against Nice, who finished Friday's Ligue 1 match with nine men.
The France forward, who sat out the international break due to a hamstring issue, replaced Pablo Sarabia in the 83rd minute at Allianz Riviera and helped kill off the game after the hosts threatened a comeback.
Ignatius Ganago pulled one back for Nice with 23 minutes to play following Angel Di Maria's first-half brace, but their momentum was disrupted by red cards for Wylan Cyprien and Christophe Herelle in quick succession.
Mbappe then marked his comeback with PSG's third and set up Mauro Icardi for a fourth, sending his side five points clear of closest challengers Nantes at the summit.
Nice have failed to keep a clean sheet in the league this term and would have been behind inside three minutes if not for Walter Benitez's quickfire triple save.
But Di Maria made no mistake when played in behind by Mauro Icardi with 15 minutes gone, the former Real Madrid man curling the ball into the far corner.
Di Maria's second arrived six minutes later as he latched onto Thomas Meunier's pass and lifted an exquisite finish over Benitez with a first-time lob from a tight angle.
Marquinhos was denied by the crossbar early in the second half and Nice were back in the match when Ganago drilled in off the underside of the bar.
Cyprien was shown a second yellow card for dissent and Herelle was also dismissed three minutes later - following a VAR review - for brushing Leandro Paredes' face with his hand.
Late substitute Mbappe made Nice pay, squeezing a right-footed effort home from inside the box in the 88th minute.
Mbappe then turned provider, picking out Icardi for a simple finish on the breakaway in stoppage time.
What does it mean? PSG power on without Neymar
Neymar is expected to miss around a month after sustaining a hamstring injury on Brazil duty, while impressive midfielder Idrissa Gueye was also ruled out of this match.
However, PSG, even with Edinson Cavani an unused substitute, showed no signs of slowing down in their pursuit of a third successive Ligue 1 title - helped in no small part by Mbappe's return.
Di Maria steps up once again
Di Maria again showed why he has been one of PSG's most reliant performers this year. His first-half brace means he has been involved in 20 Ligue 1 goals in 2019 - only the returning Mbappe (28) has contributed to more.
Marquinhos bailed out
Marquinhos was brought on for Thiago Silva at half-time and it was his error that gifted Nice their temporary route back into the game. The defender slipped when attempting to control a cross, allowing Kasper Dolberg to set up Ganago for what turned out to be just a consolation goal.
Key Opta Facts
- Nice have won only one of their last 14 games against PSG in Ligue 1 (D2 L11), it was in April 2017 (3-1). Nice have conceded 34 goals against them during this run (2.4 per game). - PSG have scored in each of their last 24 away games in Ligue 1, only Sedan between 1957 & 1959 (32) and Rennes between 2017 & 2019 (26) have registered a longer run in the history of the competition. - Two of Ganago's five goals in Ligue 1 have been scored against PSG. He has scored Nice's past two goals against them in the top flight. - Icardo has been involved in a goal every 63 minutes in Ligue 1 this season (two goals and one assist in 189 minutes), only Mbappe has a better rate among PSG players (one goal every 57 minutes).
PSG travel to Club Brugge in the Champions League in midweek, while Nice have an eight-day break before making the trip to Strasbourg for their next outing.