Not only were bragging rights at stake for these bitter rivals, but PSG arrived at the Stade Velodrome a mere five points above their unwelcoming hosts atop the table, making this arguably the biggest game of the Ligue 1 season.
Nuno Tavares had the first sight of goal, although Nuno Mendes magnificently stopped him the first time and the full-back couldn’t get a clean connection the second.
There was concern for Les Parisiens, as Presenel Kimpembe was forced off after going down while attempting to recover in the first of those passages.
Marseille had brilliantly stifled PSG with their press but were punished when the visitors broke through it 25 minutes in. Latching onto a perfectly-weighted pass from Messi, Mbappe clinically finished to claim the status of Ligue 1’s stand-alone top goalscorer.
The devastating duo combined again just four minutes later, as Mbappe’s superb pass was met by a supremely intelligent run from Messi, giving the Argentine a simple finish.
Uncharacteristically, Messi and Mbappe then wasted a golden opportunity each before the break with the visitors now tearing through OM with ease.
After the restart, Gianluigi Donnarumma was beaten to the ball by Alexis Sanchez when he rushed out of his goal but was let off by the Chilean’s wayward attempt.
There was no such wastefulness at the other end, as Messi’s beautifully dinked pass teed up a sublime finish from Mbappe, who joined Edinson Cavani as PSG’s joint all-time top goalscorer on 200 goals.
Donnarumma then had a big moment of his own, making a strong double-stop to deny Sanchez and end his run of eight matches without a clean sheet.
Donnarumma made another impressive save to deny Vitinha late on, as PSG comfortably recovered from defeats in their last three away Ligue 1 games against top five teams to earn a vital victory and go eight points clear.
Meanwhile, Marseille suffered just their second defeat in their last 15 matches across all competitions, which significantly dents any hopes of their first league title since 2010.