Homophobic manner briefly halts play as PSG go top of Ligue 1

Paris St Germain moved to the top of Ligue 1 with a 2-0 win at Metz but the match had to be temporarily halted after a banner was unfurled in the stands sporting a homophobic message.

The reigning champions were ahead after 11 minutes through Angel Di Maria’s penalty but shortly afterwards the game was halted.

An offensive sign was spotted in the home end and referee Frank Schneider stopped play – as officials have been instructed to do in such instances by the French Football Federation during the 2019-20 season.

It was the second time in three days a homophobic incident has occurred in the French top flight after Nice’s clash with Marseille was also held up when two homophobic signs appeared in the stands.

After a delay of around five minutes the match got back under way and PSG doubled their lead just before half-time, with Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting the goalscorer.

Thomas Tuchel’s team have now won both matches since their surprise defeat at Rennes on August 18 and sit at the top of the table ahead of Saturday’s fixtures.

Kylian Mbappe and Edinson Cavani were forced off with injuries against Toulouse last weekend and were not involved on Friday night, while Neymar was still absent as his future in Paris remains uncertain.

In their absence, it was left to Di Maria to take the penalty after Juan Bernat was tripped inside the area by Mamadou Fofana, and the Argentinian made no mistake with his spot-kick.

Idrissa Gueye came close to extending the lead with a header from a corner but the crossbar denied the summer signing from Everton his first goal for the club.

However, it was not all one way traffic in the early stages and Habib Diallo was giving the PSG defenders food for thought. Twice inside the first 25 minutes he got in behind Marquinhos and Thiago Silva before flashing efforts narrowly wide.

Choupo-Moting gave the visitors some breathing space two minutes before the break when he rose unchallenged to head in Marco Verratti’s cross from a free-kick.

With a two-goal lead PSG were now fully in control and the earlier threat posed by Diallo had faded.

Tuchel’s side had slowed the game right down since half-time but an injection of pace from Di Maria saw him force Alexandre Oukida into a decent save at his near post midway through the second half.

At the other end, Marcin Bulka had largely been a spectator for much of the night so the PSG goalkeeper showed good concentration when called upon five minutes from time to push away an effort from substitute Marvin Gakpa.

Oukida denied Choupo-Moting late on so it remained 2-0 and PSG recorded their third win from their opening four Ligue 1 fixtures.

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Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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