Kylian Mbappe stars as Paris St Germain down 10-man Lens to extend Ligue 1 lead

By Sports Desk January 14, 2024

Kylian Mbappe helped Paris St Germain move eight points clear at the top of Ligue 1 following a 2-0 win at 10-man Lens.

Closest challengers Nice’s defeat at Rennes 24 hours earlier presented PSG with an opportunity to extend their advantage at the summit and the defending champions fully capitalised in northern France.

Mbappe teed up Bradley Barcola to open the scoring from an acute angle after half an hour before the provider turned goalscorer in the 89th minute with a low finish beyond Brice Samba following a PSG counter-attack.

Lens were left to rue Przemyslaw Frankowski having his early penalty saved while their efforts to get back into the contests were hampered when Jonathan Gradit was sent off just before half-time.

Ultimately, Mbappe’s 19th league goal of the season in just his 17th appearance wrapped up the points for PSG, who are unbeaten in all competitions since November 7.

PSG took amateurs Revel to task in the French Cup last weekend in a 9-0 rout but had not won at Lens’ Stade Bollaert-Delelis since 2014, losing twice during their last three visits and drawing the other.

They could have fallen behind after seven minutes as Danilo Pereira hauled down Elye Wahi in the box but Frankowski slammed his spot-kick straight at Gianluigi Donnarumma, who saved with his legs.

Donnarumma barely had to move as Frankowski went down the middle and PSG were given a major reprieve.

Donnarumma then saved well from Wahi’s effort before home defender Kevin Danso spurned a glorious chance when he directed a free header from a corner over the bar.

Lens’ failure to take their opportunities came back to haunt them as PSG broke the deadlock, with Mbappe putting through Barcola, who lofted over Samba from a narrow angle.

Matters worsened in first-half stoppage time for Lens as Barcola slalomed his way through the defence before being tripped up on the edge of the area by last man Gradit.

As Gradit had denied Barcola a goalscoring opportunity, an initial yellow card was upgraded to red and Lens would have to play the second half with a man down.

To their credit, the hosts refused to roll over and Neil El Aynaoui forced Donnarumma into action while the midfielder was then unable to get the ball under control when well-positioned to equalise.

Vitinha missed the target at the other end while Fabian Ruiz took one touch too many when he could have shot before attempting to feed through Mbappe and being impeded by Lens defenders.

Mbappe fizzed wide but started and finished a PSG break after Lens had left themselves short at the back in their efforts for a leveller.

PSG were presented with a three-on-three when Mbappe spread the ball to Ousmane Dembele on the right wing. Mbappe then exploited a yawning gap to collect a return ball and slot across Samba.

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