Depleted Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) on Friday gave debuts to two teenagers, but still won 2-0 at Metz in a another Ligue 1 game interrupted by fan banners.
Angel di Maria and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting scored the goals the visitors needed to win an undistinguished game and move to the top of the table.
Neymar, who reportedly wants to return to Spain, was again left out of the squad as negotiations over his potential transfer drag on.
“It depends on Barcelona. We were open to talk,” PSG sporting director Leonardo said after the game. “We have always said that he could leave if a proposal that satisfies us arrives. This is not the case.”
Another player who has become the center of speculation, goalkeeper Alphonse Areola, dropped to the bench.
Areola is reportedly set to go to Real Madrid in a swap for veteran Costa Rican Keylor Navas.
PSG also started without the injured pair of Kylian Mbappe and Edinson Cavani.
“It wasn’t easy because this week there were a lot of possibilities to be distracted,” PSG manager Thomas Tuchel said.
Marcin Bulka started instead of Areola, making his senior professional debut.
PSG also gave a debut to midfielder Adil Aouchiche. At 17 years and six weeks, he was their youngest-ever Ligue 1 starter.
“It was not a brilliant performance, but it was serious,” Tuchel said. “It was obvious that we lack quality offensively to create more chances.”
“This is the third time in four games we haven’t conceded a goal, we’ve never lost our organization,” Tuchel said.
After 20 minutes, the game was interrupted. Home fans unfurled a four-part, 25-word hand-written banner complaining that they wanted Ligue 1 (LFP) to allow them to aim homophobic chants at PSG.
“LFP, PSG, let me sing to you, to make you go to...” read the first two lines. The last two continued: “I won’t be on TV, because my words are not very cheerful.”
Referee Frank Schneider halted play, but as the teams headed for the sidelines, the banner vanished. The game restarted after three minutes.
“Football must remain a party and it went pretty well tonight,” Metz manager Vincent Hognon said, adding that he did not get a good look at the banner and wanted his team to stay focused on the game.
On Wednesday, referee Clement Turpin took the players off for more than 10 minutes in response to homophobic chants in Nice during a home loss to Marseille.
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