Paris (AFP) – Kylian Mbappe set Paris Saint-Germain on the way to a 2-0 win over troubled Marseille on Sunday, keeping the reigning champions within three points of Ligue 1 leaders Lille who earlier recorded their sixth consecutive victory.
Mbappe burst through at incredible pace to give PSG the lead on the counter-attack in the ninth minute at the Stade Velodrome, with Mauro Icardi adding a second for Mauricio Pochettino’s side.
The victory was achieved despite Neymar — who celebrated his 29th birthday on Friday — only appearing as a second-half substitute having missed training with a stomach bug.
PSG stay third in the Ligue 1 table, a point behind Lyon and three adrift of Lille who won 2-0 at Nantes earlier.
Marseille finished with 10 men after Dimitri Payet’s late sending-off, and are down in ninth having won just one of their last 11 games.
‘Le Classique’ is the biggest fixture in French football, and the build-up to what was the 100th meeting of Marseille and PSG had been dominated by events of the last week in the Mediterranean city.
Marseille’s home game last weekend against Rennes was postponed after several hundred supporters attacked the club’s training ground, and three days later coach Andre Villas-Boas was suspended by the club — the first step in the legal process of sacking the Portuguese — after declaring at a press conference he wanted to resign.
Nasser Larguet, the head of Marseille’s youth academy, took charge for Wednesday’s 2-2 draw at Lens and was again on the bench for this match.
The last league meeting of the teams in September was won 1-0 by Marseille, but was marred by five late red cards, including for Neymar. The Brazilian also later accused Marseille defender Alvaro Gonzalez of racism, although no action was taken due to a lack of evidence.
– Stunning sprint –
Ligue 1 top scorer Mbappe sprinted onto Angel di Maria’s pass to control and fire past Steve Mandanda for the opener, his 16th of the season. Broadcaster Canal Plus clocked Mbappe’s stunning sprint at 36 kilometres per hour.
Di Maria then hobbled off injured, before Icardi made it 2-0 midway through the first half.
The Argentine got in front of Alvaro to meet Alessandro Florenzi’s cross, the ball coming off the back of his neck and looping into the net.
Icardi was replaced by Neymar midway through the second half, with the Brazilian immediately becoming involved in a flashpoint with Alvaro.
The Spaniard was lucky only to concede a corner rather than a penalty as he tried to stop the world’s most expensive player, but Alvaro did jar his knee in the process and came off soon after.
The home side then had Payet sent off for a high boot on Marco Verratti.
– David double for Lille –
Canada’s Jonathan David continued his recent scoring streak with a brace as Lille saw off Nantes to reclaim top spot from Lyon, who beat Strasbourg 3-0 on Saturday.
David netted before and after the break to take his tally to five goals in as many games and hand Lille their sixth consecutive win.
He pounced on a defensive mix-up to put Lille in front early on and secured the points with a fantastic second seven minutes from time, playing a one-two with Renato Sanches before firing high into the net.
Nantes are in the bottom three having gone 15 matches without a win, including seven games under Raymond Domenech, the former France coach who was appointed in December.
Earlier Aleksandr Golovin scored a hat-trick on his first start since August after injury as Monaco defeated bottom club Nimes 4-3 to extend their winning run to seven matches. Golovin also set up Kevin Volland for Monaco’s fourth goal.
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