NICE: Paris Saint-Germain cruised to a 3-0 victory at Nice on Saturday to equal the record of victories from the start of a French top division season.
Neymar, who ended the game with a bloodied mouth, scored twice as PSG opened the season with eight straight wins, a feat that had only been achieved once, by Lille in 1936.
“It’s unbelievable, because the preparation has been very difficult,” said PSG coach Thomas Tuchel. “The team is improving all the time.”
With 24 points, PSG, chasing a sixth French title in seven seasons, are sure to end the weekend at least eight points clear of their closest challengers.
PSG have lost this season, in the Champions League, and with Red Star Belgrade visiting Parc des Princes on Wednesday, coach Thomas Tuchel left Marco Verratti and Edinson Cavani on the bench and also experimented again with a back three.
“With three games in a week, we needed tactics and a structure to play away to Nice who are very strong with the ball,” said Tuchel. “We had to make sure that we ran as little as possible after the ball.”
PSG dominated from the start.
Nice goalkeeper Walter Benitez turned away early efforts from Adrien Rabiot and Kylian Mbappe. Then Angel di Maria hit a post.
In the 22nd minute, Christopher Nkunku surged down the right and slid the ball to Mbappe, who completely missed his shot. The ball was retrieved by Moussa Diaby who rolled it to Neymar and the Brazilian curled his shot into the net from 22 metres.
PSG wasted several chances before half-time and in the 44th minute Mbappe set up Neymar, who netted from close range only for VAR to show a marginal offside.
Nice coach Patrick Vieira threw on Mario Balotelli for the second half, but any hopes of a fightback were quickly punctured.
A minute after the restart, Di Maria released Mbappe who raced through the visiting defence and evaded Benitez and one defender. When his shot struck another Nice player, the ball fell to Nkunku who popped it into the goal.
Nice finished the game with 10 men. Wylan Cyprien, a first-half substitute, earned a second yellow for whacking Neymar in the face with an elbow while leaping for a header. Cyprien went off, Neymar continued, holding a bandage to his bleeding mouth.
In the dying seconds, Mbappe again burst clear and squared the ball to Neymar who tapped in his second.
In Saturday’s late games, Lyon, who started the weekend in second place, missed a penalty and could only draw at home to Nantes, 1-1.
Lyon, who host Shakhtar Donetsk in the Champions League on Tuesday, took the lead with a goal by Houssem Aouar after 22 minutes but Gabriel Boschilia levelled for the visitors, who are second from bottom, in the 62nd minute.
With nine minutes left, VAR showed Matt Miazga, an American defender on loan to Nantes from Chelsea, holding Aouar. Ciprian Tatarusanu saved Nabil Fekir’s penalty.
Last-place Angers, who started the weekend with one point from seven matches, gained a first victory, away to mid-table Angers.
Nicolas Benezet scored the only goal in first-half added time, finishing off a counter attack by sliding a cross-shot through goalkeeper Ludovic Butelle’s legs