Paris Saint-Germain took another step towards retaining the Ligue 1 title as Kylian Mbappe’s early brace proved enough to secure victory over relegation-threatened Auxerre on Sunday night.
Mbappe finished a flowing move before curling in a beauty from the edge of the box, but the intensity from the visitors subsided and Lecian Sinaiko’s fine finish at the start of the second half set PSG nervous racing.
However, they withstood all the pressure from Auxerre but took another league title. With a 15-goal advantage in goal difference, they sit six points ahead of Lens with two games to play.
psg The team that thrashed Ajaccio 5-0 last Saturday made just one change, bringing in Warren Zaire-Emery in place of the suspended Achraf Hakimi.
Marco Verratti suffered an early injury before the visitors tightened their grip on the game with two quick mbappe Target.
The first came in the sixth minute when a decisive passing move looked misplaced on the edge of the box, before Fabian Ruiz passed the ball to Mbappe, who turned Gauthier Hein one way and then the other before firing home into the top corner . Category.
Only two minutes later, the France captain fired forward from almost the same spot. A careless gift saw Messi play straight towards Hugo Ekitike, who ran over the ball to give Mbappe a free strike on goal, which he took with aplomb to curl past home goalkeeper Ionte Radu.
Auxerre, himself still trying to break away from the bottom four, was presented with a good chance when Marquinhos fired a straight clearance to Ryan Raveloson but the Madagascar international’s strike bounced off the woodwork.
However, Mbappe’s quick pace on the counter remained a major threat, and he almost helped PSG out of sight by tee-uping Ekitike. The young striker failed to sort out his feet in time to convert into an open net from two yards.
Christophe Gaultier’s side made a poor start to the second half, with Sinaiko halving the deficit as Auxerre smelled the result.
A long punt was carried forward by Nuno da Costa and into the path of Sinhaiko, the 23-year-old smashed a fierce effort through the legs of Gianluigi Donnarumma just long enough to escape the attentions of Sergio Ramos and Danilo Pereira.
PSG replied with a good chance of their own as Messi slid into Mbappe, but Radu was alive enough to charge his line and deny Mbappe space to score.
Auxerre tried to increase the pressure late on in search of an equaliser, but it was Mbappe who hit the back of the net, although the strike was offside.
PSG can officially secure the title in their next encounter in Strasbourg on Saturday night.
gk: Ionat Radu (6); rwb: Akim Zeddka (6), cb: Ryan Raveloson (8), cb: Jubal (6), cb: Souleymane Toure (7), LWB: Gideon Mensah (7); R M: Gauthier Hein (6), cm: Han-Noah Masengo (7), cm: Birama Tore (7), lm: Lasin Sinaiko (8); scheduled tribe: Nuno da Costa (7)
substitute player: Gaetan Perrin (N/A), M’Baye Niang (N/A), Siriki Dembele (N/A)
GK: Gianluigi Donnarumma – 7/10 – The ball appeared to flop when Sinaiko hit it. Made some stunning and crucial saves to keep PSG in the lead.
CB: Marquinhos – 7/10 – There were some clumsy clearances but often the defenders were late to clear the danger.
CB: Sergio Ramos – 6/10 – Beaten by Da Costa in the build-up to Auxerre’s goal but parried most of what was thrown at him and his defence.
CB: Danilo Pereira – 7/10 – Missed only two of his 90 passes. Tried to pepper the ball in the final third with varying levels of success.
RWB: Warren Zaire-Emery – 6/10 – Quite cool as a replacement on the right side of Hakimi.
Chief Minister: Marco Verratti – 8/10 – A significant challenge prevented Auxerre from pulling back second. Made three tackles in the middle of the park.
CM: Fabian Ruiz – 7/10 – Headed the ball to Embappé to open the scoring. Disruptive to deal with.
LWB: Juan Bernat – /10 – Enjoyed some surging runs in the second half, although the run towards the target was not smooth.
AM: Lionel Messi – 6/10 – Took an assist for Embappé’s second. There it looked a little lonely and didn’t help itself with an otherwise passable performance.
ST: Hugo Ekitike – 6/10 – Good awareness to leave the ball for Mbappe but just got a couple of gilt-edged chances begging elsewhere.
ST: Kylian Mbappé – 9/10 – Mbappe’s early goal sealed the win and he might have got some more on another day if the serve had been better.
Vitinha (55′ for Ikitike) – 6/10 – Rarely was a pass missed but Auxerre enjoyed more possession which Vitinha could not stop.
Renato Sanchez (79′ for Ruiz) – N/A
Christophe Gaultier – 6/10 – Could have put Game to bed first, but saw that he was being protected by sitting back by his side. The attacking effort seemed little more than a ‘give it to Mbappe’, which is not the worst strategy in the world.