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Blue-haired Mbappe helps PSG keep pace with Lille ahead of Sunday clash

Paris (AFP) – Kylian Mbappe scored a penalty as Paris Saint-Germain cruised to a 2-0 win over 10-man Lorient on Wednesday, keeping the reigning champions just one point behind Lille ahead of their visit to the leaders this weekend.

Mbappe’s second-half penalty, when Andrew Gravillon was sent off, and Moise Kean’s strike helped PSG to victory after Lille, who host the Champions League runners-up on Sunday, beat Dijon by the same scoreline.

Lyon dropped to third place, a point behind PSG, after a dramatic 2-2 draw with Brest.

Marseille, who have two games in hand on the top three, slipped five points behind the leaders after a 2-1 defeat at Rennes.

PSG had 81 percent of possession in the first half against struggling Lorient without creating many clear-cut chances, with Lorient’s Teremas Moffi wasting the best opportunity of the opening period when he fired wide when clean through on goal.

But the match was effectively decided less than five minutes after the break, as visiting full-back Gravillon was harshly sent off for a nudge on Mbappe in the box.

The forward, sporting a striking new blue hairstyle, stepped up to power the spot-kick into the bottom corner.

It took Thomas Tuchel’s men 10 more minutes to secure victory, with Rafinha setting up Kean to grab his eighth goal since joining PSG on loan from Everton in the close season.

– Yazici strikes again for Lille –

Earlier, in-form Yusuf Yazici scored the winner as Lille eased to a 2-0 victory at Dijon, despite uncertainty behind the scenes at the table-toppers.

Lille president and owner Gerard Lopez revealed earlier on Wednesday that he could sell the club to foreign investors, against the backdrop of a difficult financial situation exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic.

“I’m analysing the takeover offer I received,” Lopez told AFP, adding that if a sale took place he would “completely withdraw” from the club.

“I’m happy that the work we’ve done and the sporting success we’ve achieved at Lille are being recognised by foreign investors in these difficult times for French football.”

But Lille continued their serene progress on the pitch this season, as Turkish international Yazici gave them a 19th-minute lead with his fifth league goal of the campaign on only his third Ligue 1 start this term.

The 23-year-old calmly slotted home compatriot Zeki Celik’s cutback to net for the 11th time in all competitions in a breakthrough season.

Lille thought they had been awarded a late spot-kick for a trip on Burak Yilmaz, but the decision was overturned following a VAR review.

Christophe Galtier’s men did double their advantage in injury time, though, wrapping up the three points as Timothy Weah, son of former Ballon d’Or winner George Weah, grabbed his first Ligue 1 goal since scoring for PSG in August 2018.

“We’ll next host PSG in a massive match in an empty stadium (on Sunday),” said Lille coach Galtier. 

“The two teams will be tired and the Parisians might be slightly superior.

“But in one match, there is everything to play for.”

Lyon were a goal down at half-time against Brest after goalkeeper Anthony Lopes’s own goal, but Memphis Depay’s penalty and a goal for Maxwel Cornet looked to have seen them keep pace with Lille.

But Romain Faivre scored a re-taken spot-kick in the 93rd minute after Brendan Chardonnet’s initial effort was saved by Lopes, who was off his line.

Marseille led at Rennes through Pape Gueye, but the midfielder was sent off in the 36th minute and goals from Hamari Traore and Adrien Hunou ended the home team’s nine-match winless streak.

Elsewhere, fifth-placed Montpellier slipped six points behind Lille with a 2-0 home defeat by Metz, while Monaco fell to a third straight league loss, beaten 3-0 at home by Lens.

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