PARIS: Kylian Mbappe fired Paris Saint-Germain to their eighth straight Ligue 1 win with a stunning goal that earned the champions a 1-0 victory at Toulouse on Sunday and kept them miles clear at the top of the league.
The 20-year-old World Cup winner crashed home his 27th league goal of the season, his seventh in as many league games, with 16 minutes left as he continues to shine in the absence of the injured duo Neymar and Edinson Cavani.
“We had to wait, be patient and in the end we won with Kylian’s speed,” said PSG skipper Marquinhos.
“It brought a great deal of joy to our fans, I’m sure of that.”
PSG now have 80 points, 20 ahead of second placed Lille with a game in hand to boot.
Coach Thomas Tuchel said he was delighted that the runaway leaders have not been tempted to take their foot off the gas.
“Many of our players were away in the international break and there was a bit of fatigue in some of them,” said the German.
“It could have been tempting to relax, especially with the lead we have in the league, but nobody does it and I like that.”
Mbappe’s goal was the highlight of a dull game which was otherwise lit up by a cheeky PSG fan sneaking onto the pitch to snap a selfie with the striker.
The video assistant referee system ruled out Marquinhos’ tap-in just before half-time after Mbappe was judged offside, and the runaway league leaders threatened little other than that.
However they maintain their huge gap on second-placed Lille, who earlier on Sunday scored three quickfire second-half goals to comeback from 2-0 and snatch a vital win that kept them firm favourites for direct qualification for the Champions League.
– Lille stun Nantes –
Nantes had been finding goals hard to come by but went 2-0 up in front of a packed and raucous Stade de la Beaujoire thanks to a penalty from Valentin Eysseric and a near post header from Kalifa Coulibaly that seemed destined to drag them up to mid-table.
But three strikes in seven minutes from Rafael Leao, Nicolas Pepe from the spot and Jonathan Bamba’s fired Christophe Galtier’s gutsy outfit to an impressive turnaround.
There was still time for Nantes to be cast a lifeline with a late penalty, but Eysseric however sent his spot-kick flying over the bar.
Lille are four ahead of Lyon, who occupy the final Champions League spot but will have to qualify for the group stage via playoff if they finish third, and 12 ahead of Marseille in fourth.
Monaco suffered a shock home defeat to Caen, who climbed off the bottom of Ligue 1 thanks to a 1-0 win in which their goalkeeper the Congolese Brice Samba emerged as the star.
It was Leonardo Jardim’s first defeat since returning to the helm eight games ago when Thierry Henry was fired.
“We’re back in a relegation scrap,” Jardim lamented.
“This is a message to all of us to do better. We are only seven points clear of the drop zone and that’s nothing, just three matches.”
Patrick Viera meanwhile was a happy man after seeing his Nice said win 1-0 at Dijon, who slipped to bottom with this latest defeat.
“It’s great to get an away win, it’s been a while. Now we can dream of European qualification,” said Viera, whose side are seventh, four points away from a spot in the Europa League.
A late goal from Martin Terrier saw Lyon win 1-0 at Rennes on Friday while an early brace from Mario Balotelli was cancelled out by two Thomas Mangani penalties on Saturday as Marseille drew 2-2 at home to Angers.