With Kylian Mbappe out and Lionel Messi off at halftime, PSG captain Marquinhos needed to equalize in the 74th minute after Jonathan David put the away side ahead at Parc des Princes in the first half.
Di Maria had set up the equalizer and then hit the net after Neymar’s break to secure a win that would allow PSG to extend their lead at the top of Ligue 1 to a massive 10 points over runner-up Lens for the remainder of the weekend’s games.
Nonetheless, this was another in a long line of disjointed appearances by Mauricio Pochettino’s team and the coach had to answer questions again.
It was the third time in four league home games that PSG have scored a late winner against a side from Lille who are mid-table after a bad start to their title defense.
The failure of top scorer Mbappe due to illness helped just as little as that of the injured playmaker Marco Verratti.
“It is no coincidence that the team reacted the way they did. It shows their mentality and their character,” said Pochettino.
“We want to win in the best possible way and by the greatest margin. The truth is that it is often a fight, but it is no coincidence that we have won 10 out of 12 league games.”
Messi was replaced during the break and is still goalless after five appearances in Ligue 1. Surely no one expected this record from him when he came in August.
Maybe he’ll score goals for fun in France at some point, but he’ll still be trying to break his duck in November.
To be fair, Messi made an impression in the Champions League with three goals in three games in Europe.
His early substitution here was a precautionary measure before the Champions League game on Wednesday against RB Leipzig in Germany – the Argentine had to struggle with a minor injury during the week.
“We assume that he is available for the game against Leipzig,” said Pochettino the channel Amazon Prime.
Neymar’s form is also a cause for concern and the Brazilian has still only scored one goal this season, and that was from a penalty.
This is where the world’s most expensive player sometimes looked frustrated and persuaded himself to book late, but that was before he made Di Maria the winner.
Previously, Lille was rewarded for a good first half with the opening goal shortly after half an hour.
Burak Yilmaz, who almost scored in the first minute, stepped into the preliminary round and throttled the ball for Canada striker David to get it into the net from close range.
Yilmaz then failed to Gianluigi Donnarumma in the second half, but PSG looked for an equalizer and eventually got it when Di Maria’s chipped ball was thrown in from the Marquinhos byline.
Mauro Icardi, who replaced Messi at break, missed a big chance to win for the home side before Di Maria scored.
The runner-up Lens will be in action at Lyon on Saturday.