Paris Saint-Germain 3 Marseille 1: Di Maria produces a Classique performance
Angel Di Maria wrote his name into the folklore of Le Classique as his outstanding individual performance earned Paris Saint-Germain a 3-1 Ligue 1 win over Marseille.
The visit of PSG's arch rivals to the Parc des Princes was set against a backdrop of protest from the club's ultras, who did not show up until 15 minutes into Sunday's clash in protest at their Champions League exit to Manchester United.
With the league title essentially wrapped up, France's standout fixture arguably carried little meaning but Di Maria produced a performance that will live long in the memory.
After Kylian Mbappe, who later missed a last-gasp penalty, and Valere Germain traded goals either side of half-time, Di Maria put PSG back in front and then ensured victory with a wonderful free-kick, making picking the ball out of the net the first task for Yohann Pele after Steve Mandanda was sent as Marseille suffered more misery in this one-sided rivalry.
A special player having a special season pic.twitter.com/1RauKs0T5Y— Paris Saint-Germain (@PSG_English) March 17, 2019
The visitors received an early let-off as Di Maria lofted the ball over Mandanda, only for his effort to be ruled out after a VAR review, the technology again denying PSG in less dramatic circumstances than in their Champions League collapse.
Mandanda was then equal to a fierce Thomas Meunier effort at the end of an impressive run from the full-back, who followed Dani Alves in being forced off by injury.
However, PSG finally broke the deadlock on the stroke of half-time and in some style.
Substitute Colin Dagba found Di Maria, who took two brilliant touches to control and then played Mbappe in with a perfect pass that the France star stroked into the bottom-right corner.
Marseille needed only 27 seconds of the second half to equalise, with Thilo Kehrer beaten to a long ball by Lucas Ocampos, who then snuck a cross through his legs for Germain to tuck home on the turn.
Di Maria's response was swift and brilliant. He jinked his way around two Marseille defenders before playing a neat one-two with Kehrer and arcing a finish inside the left-hand post.
The contest was effectively settled by the same man, with some help from Mandanda, whose bizarre decision to race 30 yards from his goal and block a Di Maria shot with his arm was predictably followed by a red card and then by a marvellous free-kick bent in off the right-hand post.
Di Maria was denied a gilt-edged chance for a hat-trick as Mbappe decided to take a stoppage-time penalty after being felled by Hiroki Sakai, but saw a tame spot-kick kept out by substitute keeper Pele.