Left out by his coach for disciplinary reasons, Kylian Mbappe watched his teammates struggle in the first half and then came off the bench to score as French league leader Paris Saint-Germain won 2-0 at rival Marseille on Sunday.
It was also an eventful night for his teammate Neymar, who had objects thrown at him early in the second half when he took a corner. Neymar picked up one miniature glass bottle which landed on the field and tossed it aside before complaining to referee Benoit Bastien. Neymar stayed calm and, a few seconds later, took the corner as some stewards formed a shield around him.
Angel Di Maria, who grabbed PSG's injury-time equalizer on Wednesday in a 2-2 home draw with Napoli in the Champions League, set up Mbappe with a threaded pass behind the defense in the 65th minute. The France World Cup star sprinted clear before drilling a low shot into the bottom left corner for his 10th league goal in seven games.
He found the net just four minutes after coming on, justifying his importance in an attack which has plundered 39 goals in 11 games.
"A big team needs leaders and they need to make the difference," said Mbappe defiantly, after being dropped by coach Thomas Tuchel because he was late for the pre-match team talk. "I think I can fulfill that role."
Tuchel stood by his decision to bench Mbappe and midfielder Adrien Rabiot, who was also late for the talk.
"(It was) a disciplinary situation," the German coach said on Canal Plus television, confirming what happened. "We needed to do that."
Mbappe helped create the second goal by finding Neymar with a pass behind the defense, and the Brazil forward's scuffed shot landed perfectly for Julian Draxler to slide home at the back post five minutes into injury time.
It was defending champion PSG's 11th straight league win — matching English side Tottenham's run from the start of the 1960-61 season — and kept the team eight points ahead of second-place Lille.
Marseille is 14 points behind in fifth spot.
Marseille strangely played without a recognized center forward, yet had the better of the first-half chances at Stade Velodrome as PSG looked tame in attack without Mbappe.
"They are very strong at home and they had several phases of play where we were in trouble," Mbappe said. "Credit to them. But we were able to respond."
Still, PSG almost scored just before halftime when Di Maria's shot was cleared off the line by midfielder Kevin Strootman.
PSG goalkeeper Alphonse Areola made a good save to keep out midfielder Dimitri Payet's free kick early in the second half, and saved again from left back Jordan Amavi's dipping shot from the edge of the penalty area shortly after Mbappe's goal.
(With AP Inputs)