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.

Related items

  • Roma match abandoned after Evan Ndicka collapses against Udinese Roma match abandoned after Evan Ndicka collapses against Udinese

    Sunday’s Serie A clash between Udinese and Roma was abandoned after Ivory Coast international Evan Ndicka collapsed on the pitch.

    The 24-year-old Roma defender went down off the ball with 72 minutes played at the Bluenergy Stadium and was carried off on a stretcher after treatment.

    His club later confirmed that the former Auxerre and Eintracht Frankfurt player was conscious and had been taken to hospital for checks.

    A statement on Roma’s official X – formerly Twitter – account read: “Following the on-field medical emergency involving Evan Ndicka, the match between Udinese and Roma has been suspended.

    “The player is conscious and has been taken to hospital for further checks. Forza Evan, we are all with you!”

    Udinese tweeted simply: “We are with you, Ndicka.”

    Roberto Pereyra had given the home side the lead before the break, but Romelu Lukaku made it 1-1 with 64 minutes gone.

  • Mikel Arteta tells Arsenal to ‘stand up and be counted’ after Aston Villa blow Mikel Arteta tells Arsenal to ‘stand up and be counted’ after Aston Villa blow

    Mikel Arteta has told his Arsenal players to “stand up and be counted” after their Premier League title bid took a hit with defeat to Aston Villa.

    Two late goals gave Unai Emery and his players a deserved 2-0 victory at the Emirates Stadium to boost their own top-four hopes.

    In yet another twist in the title run-in, the Gunners were well beaten as Leon Bailey and Ollie Watkins struck within three minutes of one another to stun the home fans.

    Liverpool had lost at home to Crystal Palace earlier on Sunday and a fifth league defeat of the campaign for Arsenal leaves Mikel Arteta’s side in second – two points behind reigning champions Manchester City.

    Asked if he was concerned Arsenal’s season could fizzle out – much as it did last season – from this point, Arteta’s reply was bullish.

    “If one result is going to do that then we are not strong enough,” said the Spaniard, whose side had been unbeaten in the league in 2024 .

    “That’s very simple. We had one of the best performances that we’ve had all season in the first half against a really good team. It should have been three or four (goals) or more. It didn’t happen. In the second half the momentum shifted.

    “We could not control and generate what we did in the first half. We conceded two very poor goals and we lost the game.

    “Congratulate the opponent and stand up. Now the moment is to stand up and be counted. When you win and win and win for four months it’s very simple to do it. The moment to do it is now.”

    Villa were brilliant in a second half they dominated and their superiority eventually paid off as substitute Bailey tapped home at the back post before Watkins took advantage of Arsenal’s high line to burst through on goal and finish with aplomb.

    The visitors had also hit the woodwork through both Watkins and Youri Tielemans and Arsenal must now recover ahead of the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final away to Bayern Munich on Wednesday, with the tie evenly-poised at 2-2.

    “If you want to win championships, if you want to be there in the Champions League, when you have these moments you have to stand up,” added Arteta.

    “If not that means that you don’t have a quality that is very necessary. Now it’s a big test for us.

    “In any other league in the world if you won the number of games in a row that we did, you would be six or eight points clear. That is not the case here. That is the challenge.”

    This was former Arsenal boss Emery’s first trip to the Emirates Stadium with his Villa side – who moved three points clear of Tottenham to strengthen their hold on fourth place in the quest for Champions League football.

    “Of course, beating Arsenal here is very difficult and we needed to play and be focused 100 per cent and be very demanding in everything,” he said.

    “We needed the biggest commitment to do better than we did against Manchester City (a 4-1 loss) that was the sample we used for this match.

    “This is the level I want to get to with our players and progressively, we are getting better.”

  • Arsenal and Liverpool dealt heavy blows in title race by Aston Villa and Palace Arsenal and Liverpool dealt heavy blows in title race by Aston Villa and Palace

    Leon Bailey and Ollie Watkins scored in the final six minutes as Aston Villa stunned Arsenal with a 2-0 win at the Emirates Stadium to put a huge dent in Mikel Arteta’s Premier League title hopes.

    With Liverpool having gone down 1-0 at home to Crystal Palace earlier in the day, Arsenal stood to move three points clear of Jurgen Klopp’s side but they were left reeling from their first league loss of 2024 by a superb away performance by Villa, who moved three clear of Tottenham in the race to finish fourth.

    Arteta’s team were on top during the first half and should have taken the lead when Leandro Trossard met a low cross from close range but saw his effort brilliantly turned away by the foot of goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez.

    Moments before, Watkins had struck the inside of a post for Villa who were a constant threat on the counter-attack before taking control in the second half.

    Youri Tielemans hit the crossbar just after the break, before two late goals handed the initiative in the title race to champions Manchester City, who lead the way by two points.

    At Anfield, Eberechi Eze’s goal after 14 minutes, tapped in from Tyrick Mitchell’s cutback, proved the difference as Liverpool fell to a first home league defeat of the season.

    Klopp’s side were guilty of profligate finishing with Darwin Nunez, Diogo Jota and Curtis Jones all responsible for glaring misses, while goalkeeper Dean Henderson put in a fine display with a number of key saves.

    Wataru Endo hit the crossbar in the first half when Palace failed to clear a corner, but they hung on for just a second victory under Oliver Glasner to leave Liverpool two points off the top.

    Elsewhere, Fulham ran out 2-0 winners against West Ham at the London Stadium, Andreas Pereira scoring a goal in either half to damage the home side’s European ambitions.

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.