Mbappe strikes as PSG keep pressure on Lille
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Paris (AFP) –
Kylian Mbappe's goal set Paris Saint-Germain on their way to a 4-1 win at Strasbourg on Saturday as Mauricio Pochettino's side moved back to within three points of leaders Lille in the Ligue 1 title race.
Pablo Sarabia and Moise Kean also scored in the first half while Leandro Paredes netted the fourth from a free-kick as PSG made short work of a trip to Alsace in between the two legs of their Champions League quarter-final tie against Bayern Munich.
Youngster Moise Sahi pulled a goal back for Strasbourg but the defending champions bounced back from losing at home to Lille last weekend and closed the gap on the leaders who triumphed 2-0 at Metz on Friday.
"It's an important victory for us because the three points put us in the race for the title, but it's not about pressure or being anxious," former Tottenham Hotspur boss Pochettino told Canal Plus.
"Today we showed real fight all together. We want to be more consistent but we are fighting in three massive competitions. The team showed massive faith and belief and today was a very good game for us."
Mbappe had netted twice in PSG's stunning 3-2 win away to Bayern on Wednesday which gave them the upper hand before the return leg in Paris this coming Tuesday.
Pochettino made seven changes to his team from the match in Germany, with Neymar one of the players dropping out as he began a two-game domestic ban following his red card against Lille.
Captain Marquinhos also missed out after coming off injured in midweek, but Mbappe kept his place and played 88 minutes.
"The best way for Kylian to be ready is to play. If he feels something is wrong he will be the first one to stop," said Pochettino, dismissing suggestions he might have rested the World Cup-winning forward.
"We would not take a risk with any player. We are all professional and we always want to take the best decision for the team. That is football. We can't make everyone happy but Kylian is a player who is happy when he is on the pitch."
- Marseille draw -
After Adrien Thomasson crashed an early shot off the post for Strasbourg, Mbappe opened the scoring in the 16th minute, collecting a Paredes pass and cutting into the box from the left before placing his shot through the legs of goalkeeper Matz Sels from a tight angle.
It was Mbappe's 21st Ligue 1 goal of the season and his 33rd in all competitions in 39 games.
Sarabia was handed a rare start and the Spaniard took advantage to make it 2-0 before the half-hour mark, controlling Danilo Pereira's pass on the edge of the box and slotting low into the corner.
Italian striker Kean added another on the stroke of half-time, firing home from Mbappe's pass for his 18th goal since signing on loan from Everton.
Malian youngster Sahi pulled one back for Strasbourg within moments of coming on for just his second Ligue 1 appearance shortly after the hour mark.
His near-post finish beat Sergio Rico who was a half-time replacement in goal for Keylor Navas.
However, Argentina midfielder Paredes secured PSG's victory from a 79th-minute free-kick given for a foul on Mbappe.
Lille's win at Metz was secured thanks to second-half goals by Turkish duo Burak Yilmaz and Zeki Celik after goalkeeper Mike Maignan saved a penalty by Aaron Leya Iseka.
Third-placed Monaco host bottom side Dijon on Sunday before Lyon, in fourth, face Angers.
Marseille missed the chance to move into fifth and the last European place as they drew 3-3 at Montpellier in Saturday's other game.
Andy Delort gave Montpellier a first-minute lead before Arkadiusz Milik levelled and Pape Gueye put Marseille ahead at the break.
Gaetan Laborde made it 2-2 and Marseille then had Duje Caleta-Car sent off but Lucas Perrin looked to have won it for them in the 72nd minute.
However Laborde's stoppage-time header made it 3-3.
© 2021 AFP