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Brilliant Mbappe leads Monaco back to French summit

Paris (AFP) – Teenage sensation Kylian Mbappe produced another stylish winning goal as Monaco climbed back to the top of Ligue 1 with a 2-1 victory at Lyon on Sunday.

A seventh straight league win leaves Monaco level with Paris Saint Germain on 80 points but with a game in hand on the champions and a far superior goal difference.

PSG had climbed provisionally top for the very first time this season after their own 2-0 win over Montpellier on Saturday, serving a challenge that the Champions League semi-finalists Monaco rose to with gusto in Lyon.

Colombian striker Radamel Falcao pounced on a loose ball for his 19th league goal of the campaign to break the deadlock in the 31st minute of a frantic first-half.

The opener came straight after Memphis Depay had fluffed a chance to give the hosts the lead as the Europa League semi-finalists threw everything at Monaco.

Battling midfielder Bernardo Silva then hit the crossbar for Monaco as they flooded forward and the hosts hardly had time to breathe before the outstanding Mbappe made it 2-0.

With a brilliantly timed run into the box, the 18-year-old’s slick flick rounded off another lightning break from Leonardo Jardim’s side, for whom the striker has emerged, mainly in the second half of the campaign, with 13 league goals so far.

Lyon’s Lucas Tousart however produced a thundering header on 50 minutes to convert a corner and peg Monaco back to 2-1 and ensure a tense struggle all the way to the final whistle.

Monaco are looking for a first French title since 2000 and have five matches remaining in a tight race with PSG.

“Everything can change from one game to the next so it’s straight back to work for us to prepare for our next game with Toulouse,” Mbappe told French television after the game.

Next weekend, third-placed Nice host PSG, while in the following midweek Monaco play Juventus in a potentially draining Champions League semi-final first leg.

Earlier Sunday, Mario Balotelli started on the bench as Nice’s own faint title hopes were all but extinguished in a 1-1 draw at mid-table Toulouse.

Fired by the goals of Balotelli, Nice had been the early pacesetters in the French league but they have drawn too many games — the stalemate at Toulouse was their 11th of the season — and Balotelli’s form has dipped.

A goal apiece from Edinson Cavani and Angel di Maria gave Paris Saint-Germain a 2-0 win over Montpellier on Saturday.

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