Second-half substitute Edinson Cavani rediscovered his scoring touch as Paris Saint-Germain beat Lyon 4-2 to edge closer to a seventh Ligue 1 title in eight years on Sunday as an injured Neymar looked on from the stands.
Uruguay striker Cavani struck his first goal in almost six months after being barely used on his return from injury. His goal completed the win to put PSG on 61 points from 24 games.
“It was a special evening,” Cavani said after the match. “I felt the warmth from my teammates and the supporters after scoring. It was nice to end the match this way after Lyon fought back. It gives me great pleasure. It is wonderful. The relationship with the fans goes beyond football.
“They give me strength and courage. This was the best way to thank them.”
PSG were without Neymar, who skipped the game because of a rib injury, but they were inspired up front even if Mauro Icardi had another night to forget.
The Argentine was replaced in the second half by PSG’s most prolific scorer Cavani, who netted his 199th goal for the capital side just when they appeared vulnerable.
Di Maria cut back inside the area and beat Anthony Lopes with a low shot at the near post to put the hosts ahead in the 22nd minute.
Mbappe made it 2-0 seven minutes before halftime by flicking the ball past Lopes from Thomas Meunier‘s cross.
It was a harsh reality check for Lyon, who had started the match with 16-year-old Rayan Cherki livening up proceedings on the right flank.
Lyon fell 3-0 behind two minutes into the second half in farcical fashion as Marcal sent the ball under the bar trying to clear Julian Draxler‘s back pass in the area.
But the visitors did not give up and Terrier reduced the arrears with a low shot from just inside the box after being set up by Cherki.
But Cavani found the back of the net from Di Maria’s pass 11 minutes from time to wrap it up.
Over his decision to pick Icardi or Cavani as a starter, Tuchel said: “Competition is good. You can feel Edinson is getting stronger in training. This was a continuation of his recent sessions. He scored an important goal, which was good for him — we need his experience. I am only worried about strikers when they do not score.
“Confidence and goals go hand in hand. Mauro is still very, very reliable, very disciplined, and closes down spaces well. He does that in each match. He is very defensive for us. He will continue to work.”