PARIS – Kylian Mbappe struck twice as Paris Saint-Germain tightened their grip on the French title with a comfortable 3-0 win over Nimes on Saturday that saw the champions move 17 points clear at the top of Ligue 1.
Mbappe scored in the 69th and 89th minutes as runaway league leaders PSG extended their lead on second-placed Lille after the northern side’s 1-1 draw at Strasbourg on Friday.
Christopher Nkunku’s 40th-minute strike, which came after a beautiful chipped pass from Marco Verratti, got the ball rolling for Thomas Tuchel’s side against mid-table Nimes, who had goalkeeper Paul Bernadoni and poor PSG finishing – in particular from Mbappe – to thank for not taking an even heavier beating at the Parc de Princes.
Still missing injured strike partners Edinson Cavani and Neymar, Mbappe should have put the hosts in the lead eight minutes before Nkunku’s opener when he somehow hit Bernadoni’s outstretched leg instead of the back of the net when put clean through by a sumptuous Verratti pass.
World Cup winner Mbappe thought he had sneaked in the second with his hand just before the break, only to be caught punching instead of heading in Thiago Silva’s flick-on via the video assistant referee system and booked for his troubles.
The 20-year-old appeared on a personal mission to score in the second half but, first cutting in from the left and firing just wide eight minutes after the restart before his volley from Marquinhos’ chipped past was brilliantly palmed away by Bernadoni.
He somehow poked wide on the hour mark after charging onto a low cross from the left before finally doubling PSG’s lead in almost exactly the same fashion nine minutes later, meeting the surging Juan Bernat’s cut back with a neat first-time finish.
And the Frenchman made the result even more emphatic when he finished off a lightning break started by Nkunku to take his league tally for the season to 22.AFP