PARIS (Reuters) -Lionel Messi scored a stunning free kick in added time to earn Paris St Germain a 4-3 comeback win over Lille on Sunday and lift them seven points clear at the top of the Ligue 1 standings.
PSG, who have struggled for consistency since their return from the World Cup break, extended their lead over the chasing pack, while AS Monaco moved into second with a 2-1 win over Brest.
Third-placed Olympique de Marseille travel to Toulouse later on Sunday.
Lille almost caught hosts PSG off guard in the opening 40 seconds when Timothy Weah’s low shot took a wicked deflection, but Gianluigi Donnarumma was down fast to save with his legs.
PSG quickly grew into the game after the early scare at the Parc des Princes, with Messi hitting the target from a tight angle after being played through by Neymar.
Kylian Mbappe, making his first start since a two-week injury layoff, opened the scoring in the 11th minute with a brilliant piece of individual skill, ghosting past two opponents and squeezing a shot under keeper Lucas Chevalier.
“The match was not great, we made a lot of mistakes but we have shown that even when the context is not favourable, we can get through. We are a different team, we can get by all the time,” Mbappe told Prime Video.
Christophe Galtier’s side doubled their lead six minutes later when Neymar tapped in a Vitinha cross to finish off a flowing move.
However, Lille were far from passive as Jonathan David tested Donnarumma with a bullet header before Bafode Diakite nodded home an Andre Gomes cross to pull one back in the 24th minute.
PSG suffered a blow early in the second half when forward Neymar was taken off on a stretcher with a suspected ankle injury.
Lille won a penalty after Marco Verratti tugged Tiago Djalo’s shirt and David coolly converted the spot kick to level the score.
Lille piled on the pressure and were rewarded when Gomes pinged a long ball in to the feet of Jonathan Bamba, who smashed his effort past Donnarumma to give his side the lead.
The visitors let their intensity drop, however, and they were punished when Mbappe turned in Juan Bernat’s cross to make it 3-3.
Messi won a free kick five minutes into stoppage time and the Argentine curled it into the bottom corner to score his 11th league goal of the season and seal a dramatic victory for PSG.
Lille dropped to sixth following Stade Rennais’s 2-0 win over Clermont.
Lens secured a 3-1 home win over Nantes to move up to 49 points, level with Marseille in third.
Deiver Machado scored the first goal in the 34th minute with an excellent effort from long range, before Adrien Thomasson, signed from Racing Strasbourg last month, hammered home from close range two minutes later to double Lens’s advantage.
Florent Mollet gave Nantes a glimmer of hope when his curling strike from the edge of the area sailed past Lens goalkeeper Brice Samba in the 40th minute, but a Charles Traore own goal in the second half wrapped up the three points for the hosts.
(Reporting by Aadi Nair in Bengaluru, editing by Ed Osmond and Clare Fallon)