Randal Kolo Muani returned to haunt former club Nantes with a late winner to send Paris St Germain into their Champions League showdown against Borussia Dortmund on the back of a victory.
The 25-year-old came off the bench at the Parc des Princes to earn PSG an eighth successive Ligue 1 win which left the reigning champions six points clear of second-placed Monaco ahead of Wednesday night’s crucial trip to Germany.
Mostafa Mohamed had earlier cancelled out Bradley Barcola’s fine opener as the visitors threatened to build upon last weekend’s superb 1-0 win over Nice in new head coach Jocelyn Gourvennec’s first game in charge, but ultimately they left on the wrong end of a 2-1 scoreline.
With first-choice keeper Gianluigi Donnarumma suspended following his red card at Le Havre and potential replacements Keylor Navas and Alexandre Letellier injured, PSG boss Luis Enrique, who had skipper Marquinhos available after injury, handed 22-year-old Arnau Tenas a first senior start
Kylian Mbappe underwent treatment on the pitch after feeling discomfort during the warm-up but he showed no ill-effects, forcing a save from Nantes keeper Alban Lafont inside the opening 20 seconds as the hosts flexed their muscles early on.
However, they lacked precision in the final third and with the visitors organised and dogged, genuine chances were at a premium as the half unfolded.
Indeed, it took a fingertip save by Tenas to keep out Florent Mollet’s dipping 15th-minute strike and although defender Eray Comert had to make an important block to deny Mbappe seconds later, Nantes were more than holding their own.
Lee Kang-in curled a 25th-minute shot harmlessly across Lafont’s goal when a cross might have been the better option, but the keeper was a relieved man 14 minutes before the break when he came to punch Lee’s free-kick away and saw Vitinha loop the loose ball over both him and his crossbar as he back-pedalled.
But he was beaten four minutes before the break when Barcola exchanged passes with Vitinha to get in behind defender Marcus Coco and then curled a shot across Lafont and inside the far post.
Achraf Hakimi saw a volley blocked by Jean-Kevin Duverne and Mbappe miskicked with an acrobatic attempt in stoppage time as the home side turned on the style, but with no tangible reward.
Mbappe was appealing in vain for a 54th-minute penalty after exchanging passes with Barcola and surging into the box before going to ground, and his disappointment increased within seconds when Mohamed powered a header past the helpless Tenas from Mollet’s corner.
Mohamed tested Tenas from distance as Nantes sensed an opportunity, but Barcola might have claimed a second goal of the night when he raced in on goal and chipped the ball over the advancing Lafont, but into the side-netting.
A frustrated Mbappe saw a second penalty claim waved away after colliding with Jean-Charles Castelletto with 22 minutes remaining, but his side regained the lead with seven minutes remaining when Lee picked out Lucas Hernandez at the far post and although Lafont saved his header, Kolo Muani stabbed home the rebound.
Mollet headed straight at Tenas amid a late flurry, but PSG saw out time to claim a hard-fought win.
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