Ander Herrera scored twice as Paris Saint-Germain defeated newly promoted Clermont 4-0 on Saturday in the absence of Lionel Messi and Neymar, both resting after their efforts in this week’s World Cup qualifiers.
The Spanish midfielder nodded PSG at the front in the Parc des Princes in the 19th minute and shot from close range within a second on the half hour.
Kylian Mbappe, who shook off a calf injury sustained during his international service with France, raced away from the Clermont defense to add PSG’s third place before Idrissa Gueye headed in a fourth.
Mauricio Pochettino’s team took five wins out of five in Ligue 1, extending their lead to five points over Angers, who face Brest on Sunday.
Pochettino has sidelined Argentine duo Messi and Angel Di Maria and Brazilian star Neymar to give them extra time to recover ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League opener at Club Brugge.
“They arrived yesterday (Friday) afternoon and trained today. They are tired from the journey, but I am happy that they came back in good shape, without physical problems, to be there for the Champions League,” said Pochettino.
The trio were all involved in qualifying in South America on Thursday, with Messi’s home debut for PSG being reversed after his record-breaking hat-trick against Bolivia.
The triple attack made Messi the international top scorer in South American football history with 79 goals, overtaking Pelé.
Clermont, who played in the highest division for the first time, went into the weekend surprisingly third and was unbeaten after two wins and two draws.
But the visitors were without striker Mohamed Bayo, the Guinean striker was eliminated after the coup in the African country delayed his return to France.