Kylian Mbappe scored twice as Paris Saint-Germain claimed a straightforward 3-1 victory at Metz on Saturday to put the pressure back on Lille in the Ligue 1 title race.
By no means were Mauricio Pochettino’s side outstanding as a collective at Stade Saint-Symphorien, but Mbappe was, the France striker deadly in front of goal as he took his league tally to 25 for the campaign.
Mbappe’s first arrived early on as PSG initially appeared in the mood, though they faded somewhat and failed to build on that goal despite Metz offering precious little themselves.
At least, that was the case until the break. Metz levelled just 49 seconds into the second half thanks to Fabien Centonze as PSG looked in danger of dropping points for the third time in six games, but Mbappe’s deflected effort just before the hour restored the Parisians’ lead and a late Mauro Icardi penalty ensured there was no collapse from the defending champions, who go two points clear of Lille.
PSG looked bright at the start as they took the lead after just four minutes, Mbappe racing on to Ander Herrera’s pass over the Metz defence and volleying in off the post after bringing the ball under control with his chest.
Though that was hardly a prelude to unrelenting PSG pressure as they did not carve out another clear chance for another 22 minutes, with Metz goalkeeper Alexandre Oukidja this time able to deny Mbappe.
The visitors then felt aggrieved not to be awarded a penalty late in the half as the lively Mbappe went down right on the edge of the area, though replays suggested there was minimal contact.
It was 1-1 quickly after the restart, as Centonze turned in Farid Boulaya’s cross in what was a rare moment of attacking intent from the home side.
Parity did not remain for long, however, as Mbappe received the ball just outside the Metz area in the 59th minute and his rasping drive took a slight deflection to take it out of Oukidja’s reach.
It looked like dominant PSG might not increase their lead in the latter stages, with Mbappe denied a hat-trick by a remarkable goalline clearance from Boulaya and Herrera smashing against the crossbar.
But Dylan Bronn’s clumsy foul on substitute Icardi in the box led to a penalty, which the Argentinian converted with a cheeky ‘Panenka’ as PSG return to the summit at least until Sunday.