Paris St Germain shrugged off the absence of their three main forwards to beat Metz 2-0 away on Friday as yet another French game this season witnessed a homophobic incident which led to play being temporarily stopped.
The champions were without Kylian Mbappe and Edinson Cavani due to injury while world record signing Neymar has yet to feature for the club this season as he attempts to negotiate a move to Barcelona.
PSG took the lead in the 11th minute when Angel di Maria converted a penalty by sending the goalkeeper the wrong way, having spurned a spot kick in last week’s 4-0 win over Toulouse.
Play was briefly halted by the referee midway through the first half for a few minutes due to a banner held up by the home supporters which was deemed to be homophobic.
It was the fourth such incident to occur in a French game this season after the French Football Federation pledged to crack down on homophobic chanting.
PSG’s Cameroon forward Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting doubled the lead with a header shortly before halftime, his third goal in two league games this term after his brace against Toulouse.
Thomas Tuchel’s side took few risks in the second half and comfortably recorded a third win in four Ligue 1 games, their first away from home after losing 2-1 at Rennes two weeks ago.
The victory put PSG provisionally top of Ligue 1 on nine points ahead of the rest of the weekend fixtures. Metz have four points from their four matches so far.
“The team put in a huge effort, it was not a brilliant performance but it was a serious one,” Tuchel told reporters.
“It is obvious that we lacked quality in attack to create more opportunities but it was important that we won again, given the situation we were in (with so many absentees).”
Tuchel should be able to count on Cavani in two weeks’ time, with Mbappe set to return from a muscle tear in three weeks.
Neymar, meanwhile, could yet stay at PSG after sporting director Leonardo said the club had not accepted Barca’s offer for the Brazilian international, who left the Catalan side for Paris for 222 million euros (201.5 million pounds) two years ago.
“The first time we received a proposal from Barcelona for Neymar was on August 27. They have not yet given us an offer which has met our demands,” Leonardo told reporters.
“PSG’s position on Neymar has always been clear: if a satisfactory offer arrives then he could leave but that is not the case. The negotiations have not broken down but there’s no agreement for now because our demands have not been met.”