Sports

Mbappe scores as PSG extend mammoth Ligue 1 lead

PARIS, France, Jan 15Kylian Mbappe scored the opening goal as Paris Saint-Germain saw off Brest 2-0 at the Parc des Princes on Saturday to stretch their lead at the top of Ligue 1 to 11 points.

Mauricio Pochettino’s men, who missed out on the title last season to Lille, had drawn four of their five previous league games before second-placed Nice closed to within eight points by beating Nantes 2-1 on Friday.

PSG also remain without Lionel Messi, who is still recovering after testing positive for Covid-19, while the injured Neymar watched on from the stands.

But the capital giants had little trouble in swatting aside Brest as Mbappe made it 10 goals in his last six appearances.

“The most important thing is to have had chances, and good situations,” said PSG coach Pochettino. “We might have liked to win by a bigger margin. Players will be able to score next time.”

Brest were actually the better team early on and were only denied a surprise ninth-minute lead by a magnificent save from Gianluigi Donnarumma, returning from Covid, to tip away Irvin Cardona’s shot when the visiting striker was clean through inside the area.

But PSG gradually started to take control of the match as the first half progressed and forged ahead in the 32nd minute.

Mbappe collected Georginio Wijnaldum’s pass just inside the area, cut inside his man and drilled a fine strike in off the near post to score his 19th goal of the season.

PSG are still trying to persuade the World Cup-winner to sign a new contract before his current deal runs out at the end of the campaign.

Mauro Icardi had a goal ruled out just before half-time for a foul, before wasting a golden opportunity early in the second period as he turned the ball against the post.

Wijnaldum had to be replaced at half-time due to an ankle injury, but Pochettino said he hoped it was not a serious problem and that the Dutchman would have tests.

But PSG did double their lead in the 53rd minute, as Nuno Mendes’ trickery created space for a low cross which German defender Thilo Kehrer side-footed home to score his second goal in as many games.

The hosts had several chances to add another goal, but visiting goalkeeper Marco Bizot pulled off a string of fine saves to keep the score down.

One extra bonus for PSG was a belated home debut for former Real Madrid centre-back Sergio Ramos as a late substitute.

Earlier on Sunday, Lens moved into fourth place by coming from behind to win 2-1 at bottom club Saint-Etienne, who are hoping to avoid being relegated for the first time since promotion to the top flight in 2004.

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