PARIS: Paris St Germain revived their hopes of reaching the Champions League knockout phase when an early Neymar penalty earned a fortunate 1-0 home win against RB Leipzig in Group H on Tuesday (Nov 24).
Neymar scored his first goal in the competition in six games, but PSG were otherwise toothless throughout as they leapfrogged Leipzig into second place.
The French champions have six points from four games, three behind group leaders Manchester United and ahead of third-placed Leipzig thanks to their head-to-head record.
PSG next meet Manchester United at Old Trafford with Leipzig visiting Istanbul Basaksehir, who have three points, on Dec. 2.
"Maybe we didn't have what it takes to play a good game but the most important thing tonight was to bag all three points," said PSG captain Marquinhos.
Leipzig sporting director Oliver Mintzlaff added: "It's disappointing. We played really well and showed great mentality. We were the better team for large spells of the game. It's a shame when you aren't rewarded for such a strong performance."
Neymar put the hosts ahead in the 11th minute, coolly converting a penalty after Angel Di Maria was brought down by Marcel Sabitzer.
But the Brazilian's bag of tricks was as empty as a spectatorless Parc des Princes and he and Kylian Mbappe, who was equally disappointing, were replaced in added time.
In the 12th minute, Keylor Navas tipped over Dayot Upamecano's header as Leipzig, who beat PSG 2-1 in the previous round of matches, threatened in a low-key opening.
Leipzig, by far the best team on the pitch, had another clear chance in the 38th minute but Navas parried away Amadou Haidara's fierce 18-metre strike.
The visitors continued to apply pressure after the break, with Emil Forsberg's half-volley going just wide of Navas's left-hand post five minutes into the second half.
Neymar and Mbappe, only recently back from injury, were still nowhere to be seen and PSG ended the game with only two shots on target and 40% possession, looking nothing like the team who reached last season's final.
They will need to sharply raise their level if they are to threaten Manchester United, who beat Istanbul Basaksehir 4-1.
On the upside, coach Thomas Tuchel will be relieved that he can again count on Italy midfielder Marco Verratti, who came on in the 83rd minute after a six-week injury layoff.
Leipzig, who said they would be going for all three points, clearly lacked the presence of Timo Werner up front after the Germany striker left for Chelsea last June.