Mbappe on target twice in PSG cruise
Kylian Mbappe scored twice to take his tally to 18 goals in Ligue 1 this season as Paris Saint-Germain eased to a 4-0 victory at bottom club Dijon on Saturday to keep the pressure on leaders Lille in the title race.
Moise Kean and Danilo Pereira also scored for Mauricio Pochettino’s team, who bounced back from a 2-0 home defeat by Monaco last weekend and moved back up to second in the table, a point behind Lille.
The leaders play on Sunday at home to Strasbourg, while Lyon are two points behind the capital club but can leapfrog them again with a win at Marseille, also on Sunday.
Fourth-placed Monaco are six points off top spot but can extend their unbeaten run to 12 games when they face Brest in the principality.
“I am very proud. We were very professional and it was important for us to get back to winning ways,” Pochettino told Canal Plus.
PSG, who go to Bordeaux in midweek, have now won seven and lost two of Pochettino’s first 10 league games in charge.
“The team needs to be more consistent in the league,” Pochettino added. “Of course it is a mental thing, but it is also physical, it is about performance.”
Former Monaco striker Mbappe had been kept quiet by his old club but he got back among the goals against the division’s bottom side, who have now lost their last seven games.
Mbappe scored twice when PSG beat Dijon 4-0 at home in October and repeated the feat here to move onto 23 for the season in all competitions.
The victory was achieved in the ongoing absence of Neymar, with the world’s most expensive player missing a fourth consecutive game with a groin injury.
He has returned to individual training but, having already missed the first leg, he remains a doubt for the Champions League last-16 return match at home to Barcelona on March 10.
Angel Di Maria, Marco Verratti, Mauro Icardi, Leandro Paredes and Alessandro Florenzi were also missing at the Stade Gaston-Gerard along with long-term injury victim Juan Bernat.
“We have a big squad and we need to show that everyone can fight for their place,” replied Pochettino.
Kean makes mark again
On-loan Everton striker Kean kept his place and he opened the scoring inside six minutes, taking a touch and poking home from close range after being set up by Abdou Diallo.
Kean, who was also on target twice in the last meeting of the sides, has now scored 15 times for PSG, who could well be convinced to make his loan move into a permanent transfer come the season’s end.
Mbappe made it 2-0 in the 32nd minute, converting a penalty awarded for a Bersant Celina handball.
Julian Draxler had another goal disallowed for offside but Mbappe scored again six minutes into the second half, sweeping a low, first-time shot into the corner from a Rafinha pass to finish off a flowing move.
Danilo, on loan from Porto, wrapped up the win late on as he headed in Draxler’s corner for his first goal in French football, before being replaced by 17-year-old midfielder Edouard Michut who was making his senior debut.
Dijon are eight points adrift at the bottom and nine points from outright safety.
Saturday’s other game saw Metz win 2-1 at Bordeaux thanks to a stoppage-time goal by Cape Verde international Vagner Dias Goncalves.
Metz are fifth, a position which brings with it qualification for the inaugural UEFA Europa Conference League next season.
Elsewhere, Marseille on Friday announced the appointment of Argentine Jorge Sampaoli, 60, as their new coach on a deal to 2023.
He is the permanent successor to the sacked Andre Villas-Boas and arrives after a year at Brazilian side Atletico Mineiro.
Sampaoli, who coached Argentina at the 2018 World Cup, will not however be on the bench for Sunday’s game against Lyon.