Paris Saint-Germain 3 Nice 0: Cavani and Di Maria star in Neymar's absence
Neymar's absence through suspension had no impact on Paris Saint-Germain as Edinson Cavani and Angel Di Maria led the Ligue 1 leaders to a comfortable 3-0 win over Nice at Parc des Princes on Friday.
Brazil star Neymar was banned after picking up a red card in last week's 2-2 Classique draw with Marseille, but at no point did they look lost without the world's most expensive player, as the Parisians cruised against a side lacking confidence.
Unai Emery selected Di Maria as Neymar's replacement and it took him just three minutes to make a telling impact, setting up Cavani with a pinpoint free-kick.
The Argentine, who has reportedly become frustrated as a rotation option this season, was playing like a man with a point to prove and he set Cavani up for a second time just after the half-hour mark by producing a delightful pass over the Nice backline which the striker took full advantage of.
Cavani then turned provider early in the second half, his header into the six-yard box leading to a Dante own goal that effectively put the match beyond Nice.
4 - PSG's best scorers in Ligue 1 2017/18:-- OptaJean (@OptaJean) October 27, 2017
Edinson Cavani - 12 goals
Neymar - 7
Own Goal - 4
PSG saw the match out in a professional fashion to extend their lead over Monaco at the top of the table to seven points before Leonardo Jardim's side take on Bordeaux on Saturday.
Nice were dealt the blow of losing goalkeeper Yoan Cardinale in the warm-up and within three minutes of kick-off his replacement Walter Benitez was picking the ball out of the net.
Wesley Sneijder failed to halt Di Maria's left-wing free kick as Nice's one-man wall and Cavani glanced PSG's 2,500th Ligue 1 goal in with a diving header at the near post.
Benitez somewhat redeemed himself when he denied Cavani after Julian Draxler robbed Maxime Le Marchand and teed the striker up 12 yards out, but PSG doubled their lead in the 31st minute.
Di Maria played a clever pass in behind for Cavani to run on to, and the Uruguay star prodded past Benitez before helping the ball over the line from close range.
PSG should have put the match beyond the visitors just before the break, but Benitez threw himself across his goal to deny Di Maria what looked to be a certain goal from nine yards.
2 - Nice have made only 2 touches in the opposite box in the 1st half v Paris. Inoffensive. pic.twitter.com/24EegZS55I-- OptaJean (@OptaJean) October 27, 2017
It went from bad to worse for Nice six minutes after the break as PSG got a third - Dante inadvertently bundling the ball past his own goalkeeper after Cavani headed Yuri Berchiche's deep cross back into the danger zone.
Nice were let off the hook when Kylian Mbappe failed to convert from six yards after Draxler brilliantly tricked his way past Marlon Santos and cut the ball back to the teenager.
Mbappe nearly atoned for that miss after the hour mark, smashing into the side-netting after an immense driving run across the edge of the penalty area.
PSG failed to further punish a lacklustre Nice side with Benitez denying Lucas Moura - an 85th-minute replacement for Cavani - in stoppage time, but the gulf in class was already obvious, with the visitors left just one point above the bottom three.