PARIS (AP) — Even without stars Neymar and Kylian Mbappe, Paris Saint-Germain keeps on winning in the French league.
PSG extended its winning streak to 14 matches after beating Toulouse 1-0 on Saturday.
With Neymar and Mbappe recuperating from injuries and watching from the stands, Edinson Cavani scored PSG’s winner in the 10th minute with a brilliant piece of skill. But Paris looked far from its best without the goal-scoring skills and creativity of its expensive pairing of Mbappe and Neymar.
Coach Thomas Tuchel hopes to get both of them back for the Champions League match on Wednesday against Liverpool. Neymar, with a groin strain, and Mbappe, with a shoulder problem, were injured on international duty.
PSG nevertheless had more than enough firepower for Toulouse, which has won just three of its 14 league games.
Found with a header from Adrien Rabiot, Cavani used his left foot to juggle the ball past Toulouse defender Kelvin Amian and turned and volleyed the winner with his right foot past goalkeeper Baptiste Reynet.
A modest consolation for Toulouse: It became the first Ligue 1 team to restrict PSG to just one goal this season. Against other French opponents, PSG has always scored at least twice.
Filling in for Mbappe and Neymar, midfielder Julian Draxler moved up the pitch. But the Germany international wasn’t convincing in a more forward role alongside Cavani. Found by a scything through ball from Angel Di Maria late in the first half, Draxler failed to bring the ball under control, squandering the one-on-one opportunity against Reynet.
PSG also wasted other chances.
Thomas Meunier sent a header over the bar early in the second half. He was later replaced by Dani Alves, who made his return from a right knee injury that kept him out since May and caused him to miss the World Cup in Russia with Brazil.
Substitute Christopher Nkunku, who replaced Draxler for the last 15 minutes, fired over the crossbar having been found by a pass from Alves.
And another substitute, Eric-Maxim Choupo-Moting, also rushed a shot in injury time, firing high.
But with the maximum 42 points, 15 more than second-placed Lyon, PSG is making the French league look hopelessly lopsided.
The Champions League, however, is a different story. PSG lost at Liverpool 3-2 in September and drew home and away against Napoli.
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