By Julien Pretot
PARIS (Reuters) – Paris St Germain’s formidable attacking trio sprang to life after the break to give the Ligue 1 leaders a 3-1 comeback win at 10-man Montpellier on Saturday.
Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Mauro Icardi found the back of the net in the space of eight minutes after Montpellier’s Pedro was sent off in the 72nd minute, as the French champions extended their lead over second-placed Olympique de Marseille to eight points.
Marseille host fifth-placed Girondins de Bordeaux on Sunday.
PSG have 39 points from 16 games after a match that was interrupted for several minutes when visiting keeper Keylor Navas was hit on the head by a bottle thrown from the stands.
Montpellier, who opened the scoring in the first half courtesy of a Leandro Paredes own goal, are eighth on 24 points from 17 games.
PSG captain Thiago Silva admitted the French champions needed to be more consistent.
“I think individual talent and our mental strength made the difference,” the Brazil defender said. “We should be like we were in the second half for the whole game. We reacted well anyway.”
In-form Angel Di Maria started on the substitutes’ bench with coach Thomas Tuchel fielding Mbappe, Neymar and Icardi up front.
PSG lost two players to injuries in the opening 25 minutes, with centre back Presnel Kimpembe and midfielder Idrissa Gueye limping off the pitch due to muscle problems.
They were replaced by Abdou Diallo and Tanguy Kouassi as the visitors struggled to find their rhythm.
Montpellier were rewarded for their domination four minutes before the interval when Paredes deflected Daniel Congre’s header into his own net.
PSG had not managed a single shot on target in the first half and they continued to struggle until Mendes picked up a second yellow card for a tackle on Neymar.
The Brazilian found the top corner from the resulting free kick in the 74th minute before quickly setting up Mbappe for the second, the French international netting with a low cross shot.
Five minutes later Mbappe found Icardi in the area with a fine whipped cross and the Argentine striker beat Geronimo Rulli with a low shot.
Angers, who were second a month ago, slipped to 10th when they were beaten 2-1 at Stade Rennais for their third straight defeat. Rennes are fourth on 27 points.
Monaco climbed to ninth, just three points behind Rennes, after Wissam Ben Yedder, Guillermo Maripan and Keita Balde scored in quick succession in the second half to inspire the principality side to a 3-0 home win against lowly Amiens.
(Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Ed Osmond and David Holmes)