Angel Di Maria grabbed a second-half winner as Paris Saint-Germain went 10 points clear at the top of Ligue 1 on Friday with a 1-0 victory at Rennes.
The champions are 10 points clear of second-placed Angers, who travel to Monaco on Sunday, and now have gone 23 matches without losing in all competitions since being beaten by Barcelona in the Champions League quarter-finals last April.
PSG started with star striker Zlatan Ibrahimovic on the bench with one eye on Tuesday’s Champions League trip to Real Madrid while David Luiz, Marquinhos, Javier Pastore and Edinson Cavani were all missing.
Swedish star Ibrahimovic had scored five times in his last seven league games and his predatory instincts were missing in a goalless first half at Rennes who were on a six-match run without a win.
Argentine star Ezequiel Lavezzi saw a shot turned around the corner by Rennes keeper Benoit Costil.
Lavezzi had earlier just missed the target with a free-kick while, at the other end, Abdoulaye Doucoure shot over the top after a neat one-two with Juan Quintero.
After the break, PSG continued to press and the decision to summon Verratti from the bench to replace Benjamin Stambouli in the 64th minute paid dividends.
It was the Italian midfielder who played a key role in the opening goal 10 minutes later.
His magnificent pass released Brazilian teammate Lucas Moura who in turn crossed accurately for Di Maria to score his third league goal of the season.