PSG beat Monaco to move eight points clear
Kylian Mbappé, Neymar Jr. and Pablo Sarabia were on target as Paris Saint-Germain beat AS Monaco 4-1 at the Stade Louis II on Wednesday night to move eight points clear of Olympique de Marseille at the top of Ligue 1 Conforama.
AS Monaco 1-4 Paris Saint-Germain
Given these sides shared the spoils in a six-goal thriller just three days previously, this clash between Monaco and PSG got underway at breakneck speed, with Wissam Ben Yedder heading straight at Keylor Navas (3′) and Gelson Martins narrowly missing the Costa Rican’s top corner (5′) before the first five minutes were out. Mbappé – a Ligue 1 Conforama winner with Monaco in 2017 – did well at the other end soon after, flying past his marker on the left wing before cutting back for Neymar, but the Brazilian’s back-heeled finish was straight at Navas’s opposite number, Benjamin Lecomte (17′). PSG took the lead soon after when Angel Di Maria spun a beautiful through-ball to Mbappé with the outside of his boot before the game’s best young player steered his 12th goal of the campaign into the far corner (24′).
Mbappé thought he’d sealed his brace soon after – although Guillermo Maripan may have had the final touch – but referee Benoît Bastien called would-be assister Colin Dagba back for offside (30′). Keita Baldé might have pulled Monaco back onto level terms minutes later when he was slipped through by Aleksandr Golovin, but he seemed to get caught in two minds about whether to shoot or cross and the chance went begging (36′). Mbappé had another chance before the half was out, racing clear of Benjamin Henrichs and letting fly, but Lecomte saved his low drilled attempt with his feet (41′). PSG carried a two-goal lead into the interval anyway, with Neymar converting a penalty (45’+2) after Layvin Kurzawa had been fouled in the box.
PSG make sure
Dagba had another penalty claim waved away soon after the restart (47′) whilst at the other end, Golovin capped off a fine attacking move by blasting his finish over the Paris crossbar (50′). Mauro Icardi could have put the game beyond doubt when he got the break of the ball following some poor Monaco defending, but what might have been his 10th league goal of the season was volleyed narrowly wide of the far post (57′). Mbappé was the next to come close, getting one-on-one with Lecomte after another Di Maria through-ball, but this time the Monaco ‘keeper got enough of a hand on the chance to keep it out (58’).
Monaco then had a dominant spell. Fodé Ballo-Touré – who scored and own goal in Sunday’s 3-3 draw – made the net ripple at the right end after breaking clear down the left, but his shot fell the wrong side of the post (60′). Martins then did brilliantly to skip past Kurzawa and square for Henrichs, but his shot was blocked at the last (62′). Keita was the next to try his luck, but his low shot blasted back off Navas’s legs, and PSG took full advantage of their profligacy soon after, with Sarabia volleying home after Marco Verratti’s chipped through-ball (72′). Monaco pulled one back through Tiémoué Bakayoko (87′) but Mbappé then grabed his second at the other end (90’+1) and it ended 4-1.
THE PLAYER: Kylian Mbappé
Being PSG’s 13-goal top scorer with Neymar, Icardi and Di Maria for company is quite some achievement on its own, but perhaps the most terrifying thing about Mbappé is that he always looks capable of scoring even when not playing in top gear. The 21-year-old played 90 minutes of the 3-3 draw with Monaco last Sunday, so could be forgiven for choosing his moments on Wednesday, but when he did, Monaco simply had no answer.
THE STAT: 12
Neymar scored his 12th Ligue 1 Conforama penalty since signing for PSG from Barcelona in the summer of 2017. No other player has converted as many spot-kicks as the Brazilian forward in that time.
Nîmes Olympique 0-1 Stade Rennais FC
Stade Rennais FC cemented their grip on third place in Ligue 1 Conforama with a 1-0 win over Nîmes Olympique, with Adrien Hunou’s second-half strike enough to separate the sides at the Stade des Costières.
Goalkeeper Édouard Mendy and midfielder Eduardo shook off knocks to play, and having dominated for much of the first hour, Hunou put Les Rouge et Noir in front when he reacted quickest to Flavien Tait’s deflected cross and volleyed home his sixth goal of the campaign, which proved to be enough to take all three points back to Brittany.
Amiens SC 1-1 Stade de Reims
Amiens SC and Stade de Reims shared the spoils at the Stade de la Licorne, meanwhile, with Moussa Konaté equalising for the relegation-threatened hosts inside the hour after Dereck Kutesa had put their mid-table visitors 1-0 up on the stoke of half-time.
With Mathieu Cafaro injured and Rémi Oudin sold to Girondins de Bordeaux, Reims fans wondering where the goals might come from had their questions answered by Kutesa, who opened his account for the club with a fine final kick of the first half. Konaté returned fire less than 10 minutes after the restart, though, and it ended 1-1.