Paris St Germain moved nine points clear at the top of Ligue 1 with a 2-1 win away at Strasbourg.

Goals in either half from Kylian Mbappe – who missed an early penalty – and Marco Asensio put the visitors two up before Dilane Bakwa scored 22 minutes from time to breathe life into the match.

Defender Abakar Sylla spurned a golden opportunity to steal a point for the home side in stoppage time when he looped a close-range header straight into the arms of goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma.

It was the story of the game for Strasbourg, who had more than enough chances in the second to have earned a draw, though they were ultimately let down by poor finishing.

PSG should have gone ahead in the sixth minute but Mbappe’s spot-kick was saved by Alaa Bellaarouch after Lucas Perrin fouled Randal Kolo Muani.

The visitors took the lead after 18 minutes and Strasbourg had only themselves to blame.

Goalkeeper Bellaarouch dwelt too long with the ball at his feet and as he went to clear was closed down by Asensio. The ball deflected into the path of Mbappe, who was left with the simplest task of stroking it into the empty net for his 20th goal of the season.

The roles were revered shortly after half-time, with Mbappe this time the provider, his cross with the outside of the boot finding the feet of Asensio who took a touch and artfully placed it past Bellaarouch.

Strasbourg got the goal that their efforts deserved midway through the second half when on-loan Chelsea winger Angelo Borges crossed for Bakwa at the far post who knocked it past Donnarumma with an expertly taken first-time side-footed volley.

PSG goalkeeper Donnarumma made an excellent double save – first from Junior Mwanga then from Emanuel Emegha, the Italian springing sharply back to his feet to keep out the second effort.

Then came Sylla’s gilt-edged chance at the end, but the champions survived to extend their lead over Nice at the top of the table.

Ousmane Dembele will miss Ligue 1 leaders Paris St Germain’s trip to Strasbourg on Friday.

The former Barcelona winger missed training on Thursday with a thigh problem and the club have since announced he will be not be risked at the Stade de la Meinau.

Luis Enrique’s team, who have a six-point lead at the top of the table, will also be without the suspended Bradley Barcola.

The forward received a one-match ban after being sent off for two bookable offences in stoppage time of last week’s 2-2 draw with Brest.

PSG had led 2-0 in that match but surrendered their advantage, raising question marks over their resilience.

Manager Luis Enrique, however, has dismissed concerns about a lack of stamina.

“After watching the match against Brest again, I don’t think we had an athletic problem,” the Spaniard told reporters at a press conference to preview the game at Strasbourg.

“I think they were very good opponents – that’s the reality. It’s true that we had difficulty pressing and recovering balls, but I don’t think it was a physical problem.”

After being held by Brest, who are third in the league, Enrique recognises PSG face a tough game against another side in good form.

Strasbourg, under the guidance of Patrick Vieira, are unbeaten in their last six matches.

“They’re a team in better momentum than at the start of the season,” said Enrique, the former Barcelona and Spain manager. “They have had good results recently and are in the middle of the table.

“They’re a team that creates but also defends very well, in an organised manner. We will have to be ready for everything in this match.”

The game comes too soon for Achraf Hakimi to rejoin the PSG squad following the end of Morocco’s campaign at the Africa Cup of Nations.

With the Champions League also due to resume later this month with the first leg of the last-16 tie against Real Sociedad, Enrique is aware the business end of the season is approaching.

He hopes his team can tighten their grip on the title race as pressures increase.

He said: “We have to win the next matches and get to the end of the season in the best possible way.

“For the moment, what is important is the match against Strasbourg, but now we are going to have to play matches every three or four days.

“We have to take these three points which are really important.”

What the papers say

Paris St-Germain are watching developments with Marcus Rashford at Manchester United. According to the i, the French club could rekindle their interest in the England forward, 26.

Armando Broja, 22, is being lined up by Fulham for a move ahead of the transfer deadline. But they are yet to approach Chelsea’s £50million valuation for the Albania striker, according to The Daily Telegraph.

Spanish midfielder Pablo Fornals could be the next player to leave West Ham, reports the Daily Mail. The 27-year-old is close to sealing a move to Real Betis.

West Ham are looking at Portuguese winger Jota, 24, from Al-Ittihad to replace the outgoing Said Benrahma, according to the Daily Mirror. The Hammers are fending off interest from Wolves and Crystal Palace for England striker Danny Ings, 31.

Social media round-upPlayers to watch

Bryan Gil: Brighton are in talks with Tottenham over a loan move for the out-of-favour Spain midfielder, 22, according to the Daily Mail.

Amad Diallo: The Ivory Coast winger, 19, is keen on a return to Sunderland on loan from Manchester United, reports Football Insider.

Kylian Mbappe drew a blank for the first time in seven games as Paris St Germain squandered a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 with Brest.

Goals from Marco Asensio and Randal Kolo Muani had given the home side a 2-0 half-time lead and put them seemingly on course to restore their eight-point cushion at the top of Ligue 1 following Nice’s victory over Metz on Saturday.

However, Luis Enrique’s side started the second half sluggishly and were deservedly punished when Mahdi Camara pulled one back on 55 minutes before substitute Mathias Pereira Lage equalised with a sublime flick.

PSG’s miserable evening was compounded in stoppage-time when the previously impressive Bradley Barcola was sent off for two bookable offences in quick succession.

Brest arrived at the Parc des Princes having won six of their last seven league games but it was PSG who started better, Vitinha flashing a shot high and wide in the fourth minute before Barcola set up Mbappe for a low shot which was saved by the legs of goalkeeper Marco Bizot.

At the other end, Jeremy Le Douaron headed narrowly wide from Kenny Lala’s cross, although Gianluigi Donnarumma probably had it covered at his right-hand post.

Chances remained at a premium until the deadlock was broken in the 38th minute, the influential Barcola playing a delightful chip into the path of Asensio, who struck a left-foot volley into the ground and just inside the far post.

Vitinha was inches away from doubling the lead with a curling shot from just inside the area after a one-two with Warren Zaire-Emery, but moments later it was 2-0 when Muani stabbed home from two yards after Asensio’s shot had been palmed away by Bizot.

Whatever Brest manager Eric Roy said at half-time had the desired effect and his side flew out of the blocks, Pierre Lees-Melou and Hugo Magnetti drawing saves from Donnarumma before Camara’s shot deflected off Danilo and into the net.

Lala then forced Donnarumma into another good stop at his near post before Martin Satriano picked out Pereira Lage in the area, the 27-year-old showing great determination to sprint across the box before cheekily flicking home the equaliser from close range.

Paris St Germain boss Luis Enrique has expressed his admiration for Sunday’s opponents Brest, saying it is “no coincidence” they are currently third in Ligue 1.

Having finished 14th last term, Eric Roy’s side have been a surprise package this term and take on the champions at the Parc des Princes having won six of their last seven league games.

The reverse meeting between the sides in October saw PSG edge it 3-2 thanks to a late Kylian Mbappe winner.

Enrique told a press conference: “I think Brest will stick with their system, with a four-man defence. It will depend on us and how we manage the ball. They will play to win.

“Brest have an exceptional record, both home and away, and they concede very few goals. It’s no coincidence that they’re third in the table.

“They deserve it. Their statistics are impressive. Brest will play this game to win it.”

The Spaniard added: “My aim is to give our opponents as few options as possible. At the start of the match, we’re fresher.

“We have to be strong from the start, but scoring quickly isn’t necessarily an objective. If you do, that’s great, but it’s a process.

“The important thing is to have a high tempo from the start, to have possession of the ball, and for the opposition to lose it quickly.

“The opposition’s level can drop in the second half of a match. We often open the scoring, but it’s not a question of strategy whether you want to score from the start or not. You have to wear your opponent down right from the start.”

PSG go into the game five points clear of second-placed Nice, with Brest a further four points back, after Francesco Farioli’s men beat Metz 1-0 on Saturday.

Suffering their only defeat of the top-flight campaign to date back in September, the leaders are currently on a 13-match unbeaten run in the league.

Mbappe has 19 Ligue 1 goals to his name so far this term, and took his tally to 10 goals in his last six appearances in all competitions with a brace in last weekend’s 4-1 Coupe de France victory at Orleans.

Paris St Germain have signed Brazilian teenager Gabriel Moscardo from Corinthians for an initial £17million.

The 18-year-old midfielder has put pen to paper on deal which ties him to the French champions until 2028 but will return to Corinthians on loan for the remainder of this season.

Corinthians announced on their official website that PSG would pay an initial 20 million euros (£17m) for their home-grown player, with a possible extra two million euros in performance-related bonuses.

Moscardo, a Brazil Under-23 international, said on his new club’s website: “I’m very happy to be joining Paris St Germain; this is one of the best days of my life.

“It’s a project with some talented young players in it. I’m looking forward to joining up with the squad and to meeting the team and the coaching staff, and I hope to win many trophies with Les Rouge et Bleu and to make the fans happy.”

Paris St Germain boss Luis Enrique has warned against complacency when they travel to third-tier Orleans in the last 16 of the Coupe de France.

Kylian Mbappe’s hat-trick helped PSG thrash amateurs Revel 9-0 in the last round.

With Enrique’s men sitting eight points clear at the top of Ligue 1, another convincing victory is expected when they travel to the Stade de La Source on Saturday night.

Enrique, though, insisted his squad – set to be without injured goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma, who picked up a knee problem against Lens last weekend – will have to stay fully focused to avoid suffering a shock result.

“We have analysed a team which plays two divisions below us, they are a professional team,” Enrique said.

“Even if they are in difficulty in the (National) Championship, they were able to get through the rounds in the Coupe de France, beating teams ranked higher than them.

“It is different from what we encountered against Revel. Orleans are a well-structured team. They play with a back five and take up good spaces, they are capable of countering with strong attackers.

“It is a dangerous competition for the favourites because in normal conditions, over 90 minutes, you can be knocked out. But we are approaching the Coupe de France with a lot of seriousness and a lot of desire.”

With goalkeeper Alexandre Letellier slowly getting back to training after a viral infection, Enrique was giving little away about who would start on Saturday.

Defender ⁠Manuel Ugarte will not not feature after sustaining a slight thigh injury against Lens.

Enrique has some concerns over what state the playing surface will be in at the Stade de La Source.

“It’s the only thing that really concerns me beyond the competition,” he said.

“I hope the pitch will be in a good state, not just in terms of playing good football.

“I am concerned about the health of the players, mine and those of Orleans.”

Enrique added: “If it were normal circumstances, yes, it would be a case of rotating and involving young players because we want to give them a chance.

“But bearing in mind the circumstances of this match, the experience of playing away on a pitch that had been recently changed, I will decide who will play when I see the state of the pitch.”

Orleans coach Karim Mokeddem is relishing the prospect of facing the Ligue 1 giants.

“It (beating PSG) would not be an achievement – there is no word yet to describe it if it happens,” he told reporters.

“I told the players to enjoy every moment, but I think there isn’t anyone who hasn’t dreamed of eliminating PSG.”

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.

Paris St Germain boss Luis Enrique expects his Ligue 1 pacesetters to face a tough test at Lens’ Stade Bollaert-Delelis on Sunday.

The capital club have not won at the venue since 2014, losing twice during their last three visits and drawing the other.

Lens have slipped to seventh after winning just one of their last three matches but Enrique is aware of their qualities.

The 53-year-old Spaniard told a press conference: “They have all the ingredients a top-level team could want.

“They are almost unbeatable at home, they play good football and they get good results – and they don’t give you time to think.

“Each game is a challenge. Regardless of the level of the opponent, there is always a goal to achieve.

“Of course tomorrow we are facing a team almost unbeatable at home, who play good football, press high and take up good spaces when they are on the ball.

“They put in a lot of crosses and make it dangerous for you with their attackers, who are good at getting into spaces.

“We already faced them at the Parc des Princes and it was a great game. If they (the PSG players) hadn’t been inspired, Lens would have won.

“It is a really good test for us at a fantastic stadium with an amazing atmosphere, so I am very excited.

“The only thing I wouldn’t forgive my team for is that if they are not brave or daring. That has been the case in every game this season.”

The PSG boss, who saw his team win 9-0 at amateur team Revel in the French Cup last time out, was giving little away about his team selection.

However, he did not complain about being without Achraf Hakimi and Lee Kang-in, who are on international duty with Morocco and South Korea respectively.

Enrique continued: “I am the coach and I decide who plays. We never complain about player absences. If I start to do that, imagine what the situation would be for other coaches in Ligue 1.

“We have to solve all problems that come up during the season.”

The manager ominously insisted his defending champions – who are currently five points clear at the top of the table and unbeaten away from home – would get stronger as the season progressed.

He explained: “I have known for a long time that we would be better in February. Of course you want the team to be a better team but the team will be stronger in February, March, April and May.

“I’m a really optimistic person and I think the hard work by the players is paying off.”

Kylian Mbappe fired a hat-trick as Paris St Germain thumped amateur opponents Revel 9-0 in the French Cup at the Stade Pierre-Fabre.

The round-of-64 tie in Castres was never in doubt from the moment Mbappe opened the scoring in the 17th minute, yet the France striker was wasteful despite boosting his goal tally for the season to 25 in all competitions.

Marco Asensio starred for PSG, orchestrating the downfall of opponents operating in the sixth tier of French football, and the Spain star was on target shortly before half-time.

Mbappe was the only player to keep his place in a side showing 10 changes following Wednesday’s 2-0 Champions Trophy victory over Toulouse, but Goncalo Ramos was first to test goalkeeper Cyril Garcia, who saved a shot bound for the top-left corner.

Mbappe and Asensio went close as early pressure built on the underdogs’ defence and in the 17th minute it cracked, Carlos Soler finding Mbappe who fired home.

PSG were dominating possession against outclassed opponents with Asensio, Mbappe and Nordi Mukiele all going close.

Ramos teed up Mbappe and his first-time shot flew high over the crossbar but the search for a second goal ended in the 39th minute when Maxence N’Guessan poked a cross into his own net.

Revel’s resistance was melting away and they were undone two more times before the interval with the influential Asensio the next on target before Mbappe nodded in his second.

The second half was only three minutes old when Mbappe made it 5-0, Revel’s over-stretched defence offering Asensio the chance to score, only for the Spain star to provide his team-mate with an open goal.

Garcia was being kept busy in the home goal as PSG continued to press but he was at fault for a penalty conceded in the 72nd minute when he took out Ramos, who converted from the spot.

Randal Kolo Muani added the seventh from close range and Cher Mdour produced a stylish finish having been set up by Mbappe, before Muani completed the scoring on the stroke of full-time.

Paris St Germain manager Luis Enrique has warned his side they will be punished if they take a victory against amateur team Revel for granted.

PSG will lock horns with the sixth-tier outfit in the opening match of their Coupe de France campaign just days after seeing off Toulouse to land the Champions Trophy for a record-extending 12th time.

Footage of Revel’s coaching and playing staff went viral as they celebrated drawing PSG in the last-64 clash last month.

And, although they are the hosts, Revel will be in unusual surroundings for Sunday’s fixture after being forced to upgrade to the Stade Pierre-Fabre – home to nearby rugby union side Castres – for the cup clash.

“They are not a professional team, and they compete in an amateur league, but they are top of their league,” said Enrique.

“We watched two of Revel’s matches – not at the stadium where we’ll play, so there is a significant difference – but that doesn’t mean they won’t pose a threat. And if we don’t prepare for the match adequately, it could turn into a bad evening.

“We need to start the competition by respecting the opponent and playing our best game. That’s how we approach things, and that’s what I’ve conveyed to the team in recent days. We’re treating this match as if it were a league encounter.

“Winning a trophy is positive for everyone at the club. After the Trophee des Champions, we will try to win others during the second part of the season.

“For me, Sunday’s match is very important. We aim to go all the way in the Coupe de France, and for that, we must win the first match and play in the best possible condition.”

Enrique captured his maiden silverware as PSG boss following his side’s 2-0 midweek win against Toulouse at the Parc des Princes.

But the result came at a cost after Milan Skriniar sustained an ankle injury which will require an operation.

It means the Slovakia defender could miss PSG’s Champions League knockout matches against Real Sociedad next month.

“Unfortunately, after the match against Toulouse, the doctors ran tests on Milan and determined that he needed an operation,” added Enrique.

“Until this takes place and we see how it goes, we won’t know how long he will be out for. It’s a shame, like every time a player gets injured. It’s a bad piece of news.”

Kylian Mbappe became Paris St Germain’s leading scorer at the Parc des Princes as the Ligue 1 champions saw off Toulouse with a 2-0 victory to take the Champions Trophy.

PSG headed into Wednesday’s showpiece as the firm favourites to claim more silverware and they were ahead after just three minutes through Lee Kang-in.

Mbappe doubled his side’s advantage shortly before the interval with his 111th home strike for PSG as Luis Enrique landed his first trophy for the French side.

Ousmane Dembele returned for PSG following their 3-1 win against Metz a fortnight ago, while Toulouse made two changes with Vincent Sierro and Moussa Diarra back in the starting line-up.

Toulouse, who have found the going tough under new manager Carles Martinez Novell on the domestic front – with just two league wins this season – were making their first appearance at this stage of the competition since 1957 after thrashing Nantes to win the Coupe de France.

But they were a goal down with just two minutes and 35 seconds on the clock.

Vitinha’s superb crossfield ball was volleyed back across the face of goal by Dembele with an unmarked Lee making no mistake from close range.

PSG were on the front foot and in control, but Toulouse almost netted an equaliser when Gabriel Suazo struck the sidenetting with PSG goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma beaten.

With 10 minutes of the opening period remaining, Lee nearly had his second of the night when he unleashed an overhead kick, only to be gobbled up by Guillaume Restes, before Toulouse suddenly threatened again as Thijs Dallinga’s snapshot was tipped on to the post by Donnarumma.

But the home side did double their advantage before the interval following a moment of magic from Mbappe.

The France international collected the ball 25 yards from goal before dribbling away from a handful of Toulouse defenders and firing the ball into the far corner to surpass Edinson Cavani as PSG’s sharpest shooter at the Parc des Princes.

Mbappe’s masterclass left Toulouse with a mountain to climb in the second half and, despite an impressive start after the interval, PSG nearly had a third when Achraf Hakimi’s free-kick struck the woodwork.

Brazilian defender Lucas Beraldo was handed his debut in the second half and, while Toulouse refused to give up, they never looked like threatening PSG as Enrique’s men cruised to a record-extending 12th triumph – and their 10th in the past 11 years.

Paris St Germain boss Luis Enrique wishes he could be playing for a title every week as he bids to land his first trophy with the club on Wednesday.

The Ligue 1 champions can open 2024 by claiming more silverware as they take on French Cup holders Toulouse for the Champions Trophy at the Parc des Princes.

PSG, winners of the trophy in nine of the past 10 years, go into game as strong favourites having opened up a five-point lead at the top of the table while Toulouse languish in the bottom three.

Enrique, the former Barcelona and Spain manager who took charge last summer, told reporters at a press conference: “We have the opportunity to play a match to win our first title this season, so that’s a source of motivation.

“Our aim is to win every title possible. It would be a reward for all the work we put in last year, so of course we’re very motivated.

“I’d love to be able to play for a trophy every week, like all the players.

“Of course, the motivation is greater than any normal league match. It’s going to be played at ‘home’ but as a neutral ground, so I imagine the atmosphere will be great.”

Toulouse have found the going tough under new manager Carles Martinez Novell on the domestic front but they finished second to Liverpool in their Europa League group.

Enrique expects them to be highly motivated and is taking nothing for granted.

He said: “Paris Saint-Germain lives for this type of match but both teams will be motivated.

“They’re a team that can do a lot with the ball and if you give them time, they’re very good at occupying space. Without the ball, they can also perform well.”

The game comes after PSG began the January transfer window by completing the signing of Brazilian defender Lucas Beraldo.

He could be the first of a number of additions.

Enrique said: “If I can have several players available in each position, I’d obviously be delighted.

“We’ll be paying close attention during this transfer window and we’ll see if there are any opportunities that allow us to improve the team.”

Ousmane Dembele is the latest addition to the PSG injury list with a hamstring problem but back-up goalkeeper Arnau Tenas is available after a shoulder issue.

What the papers say

Paris St Germain and Newcastle are believed to be leading the chase for Kalvin Phillips. According to The Telegraph, the Manchester City midfielder is likely to leave the club this month in search of regular football, having made just two starts for City since his £45million move from Leeds 18 months ago.

The Hull Daily Mail reports Burnley winger Manuel Benson has entered talks with Hull City. The paper says the development comes after the two sides verbally agreed on a loan deal until the end of the season.

Manchester City are reportedly among a wealth of teams interested in 18-year-old Lille defender Leny Yoro. Le 10 Sport, via the Manchester Evening News, says Liverpool and Paris St Germain are also tracking Yoro, but Lille are unlikely to entertain any offers under £78m.

And the Liverpool Echo reports Liverpool are keeping a close eye on Genoa midfielder Morten Frendrup, but are not expected to make a move this month.

Social media round-upPlayers to watch

Kylian Mbappe: Le Parisian says Real Madrid and Liverpool both want the Paris St Germain striker, who is out of contract at the end of the season.

Joshua Kimmich: Manchester United and Liverpool are the frontrunners to nab the Bayern Munich midfielder, according to AS.

Brazil Under-20 defender Lucas Beraldo has joined Paris St Germain from Sao Paulo after agreeing a five-year deal with the French champions.

Beraldo has completed a move for a reported £17.36million after enjoying a breakthrough year in 2023 that saw him make 52 appearances for Sao Paulo.

The 20-year-old joined the club in 2020, starting out for the under-17s before making his first-team debut two years later.

“I’m really happy to be joining a club as ambitious as Paris St Germain,” Beraldo said on the PSG website.

“This is an important step in my career and one that will help me to move forward. I can’t wait to get to know my new team-mates and to take my first steps in this shirt.”

PSG currently top the Ligue 1 table, sitting five points above Nice, as they chase a third successive title.

Page 4 of 105
© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.