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. 

What does it mean? All eyes on Lille as PSG avoid shock ahead of pivotal week 

Given how often PSG have dropped points this season, few would have claimed this was a foregone conclusion beforehand, even with Metz's shoddy form in recent weeks. 

With that said, PSG's display was professional if not exceptional and it got the job done. Lille go to Lyon on Sunday needing to win to end the weekend as leaders, but an OL side still chasing Champions League qualification will not make it easy. 

PSG can now look forward to their date with Manchester City in the Champions League in midweek having not increased the heat on themselves. 

Neymar provides the spark 

While Mbappe takes the headlines with his brace, Neymar certainly warrants a mention. The Brazilian may not have been particular accurate in front of goal, with none of his four shots accurate, but he made five key passes in his 81 minutes on the pitch.  

A day to forget for Bronn 

Granted, there were few Metz players bar Boulaya who impressed, but Bronn will be particularly frustrated with himself. His foul to concede the penalty was brainless, as he recklessly swung his back leg out and caught Icardi. That killed the game off. 

What's next? 

PSG turn their attention to the Champions League now, with City visiting for the first leg of their semi-final on Wednesday before hosting Lens in Ligue 1 three days later. Metz go to Dijon next Sunday.

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.

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. 

Paris Saint-Germain coach Mauricio Pochettino was delighted with hat-trick hero Mauro Icardi's impact in Wednesday's 5-0 Coupe de France win after a month out with injury.

Icardi marked his first start for PSG in a month with a treble as they swept aside Angers to qualify for the Coupe de France semi-finals.

The Argentine, who spent last season on loan at PSG from Inter before signing permanently, has endured a difficult season impacted by injury.

"I'm glad Mauro scored three goals tonight," Pochettino said. "Anytime he's on the pitch, he has the opportunity to score.

"He's coming back from injury, I'm very happy with what he did."

Icardi has battled the likes of Neymar, Kylian Mbappe, Moise Kean and Angel Di Maria for a regular spot when fit.

Pochettino would not be drawn on whether Wednesday's hat-trick would help the Argentine's cause in a bid to start in Saturday's Ligue 1 clash with Metz.

"We will see Saturday who will start," Pochettino said.

"It is always difficult for a player to suffer from muscle damage and to be held back by health problems. Even more so in a season of difficult circumstances like this."

Icardi's goals take his season tally to 11 in all competitions, having made 21 appearances.

"I felt confident," Icardi said. "I'd already scored against Saint-Etienne and I was very confident that I could come back after a tough injury hit year.

"I'm slowly getting back to form and scoring goals is always important for strikers."

Mauro Icardi scored a hat-trick as Paris Saint-Germain swatted Angers aside 5-0 in the quarter-finals of the Coupe de France.

Striker Icardi recently returned form a spell on the sidelines with a thigh injury and showed what a useful asset he can be to Mauricio Pochettino with Ligue 1 and the Champions League up for grabs, converting a pair of sharp finishes.

Neymar, back in action after a completing a domestic suspension, also got in on the act midway through the second period, having prompted a 23rd-minute own goal from Vincent Manceau.

Icardi then claimed the matchball with the final act of the game, lashing home a looping ball with an unstoppable volley.

Kylian Mbappe rested up on the bench but PSG's other attacking options showed themselves to be in fine order, as Icardi slotted home to crown a slick ninth-minute move on the end of Julian Draxler's cute throughball.

Jimmy Cabot tested Sergio Rico, who was again deputising for the injured Keylor Navas in goal for PSG, before the hosts doubled their advantage in fortuitous fashion.

Full-back Colin Dagba made hay down the Angers left and his cross was clipped towards goal at the near post by Neymar. Ludovic Butelle saved well but the rebound hit Manceau and spun into his own net.

The Angers defender should have atoned for that misfortune two minutes before half-time when he was left unmarked in the PSG box, only to blaze wide on the volley.

Angers continued to probe for a way back into the contest but PSG effectively made sure of their semi-final spot in the 65th minute – Butelle darting out to deny Draxler and the loose ball spinning up for Neymar to head into an unguarded net.

Three minutes later, the visitors were cut apart again, this time down their right flank as Angel Di Maria brilliantly engineered space to cross, with compatriot Icardi the beneficiary.

Rico denied Angers a consolation, pushing over when Farid El Melali fired a centre from fellow substitute Lois Diony towards the roof of the net, before Icardi emphatically had the final word.

Where will Kylian Mbappe be playing next season is a question being asked across Europe.

The Paris Saint-Germain star has been tipped to join Real Madrid.

Should Mbappe depart Paris, PSG are reportedly drawing up a list of replacements.

 

TOP STORY – KANE AND SALAH WANTED IN PARIS

Paris Saint-Germain have set their sights on Tottenham forward Harry Kane and Liverpool star Mohamed Salah as possible replacements for Kylian Mbappe, according to Telefoot.

Mbappe has been heavily linked with LaLiga champions Real Madrid, though PSG remain in negotiations over a contract extension.

While PSG are still hopeful, the Ligue 1 holders are eyeing the Premier League should Mbappe leave the French capital.

Kane is reportedly wanted by Manchester United and Manchester City, while Salah has previously been linked with Madrid and Barcelona.

 

ROUND-UP

- Calciomercato reports Bayern Munich and Atletico Madrid are chasing Inter midfielder Nicolo Barella. The Sun adds Chelsea are also interested in the Italy star.

Juventus and PSG could exchange Mauro Icardi and Paulo Dybala in a swap deal, says Corriere dello Sport. Icardi's future is up in the air, despite only joining PSG permanently from Inter last year, while countryman Dybala is reportedly nearing an exit.

- AS Diario claims United are keeping tabs on Villarreal centre-back Pau Torres, who has also been linked with neighbours City. United have also been credited with interest in Sevilla defender Jules Kounde, RB Leipzig's Liverpool target Ibrahima Konate as well as Madrid captain Sergio Ramos and team-mate Raphael Varane.

- Eintracht Frankfurt boss Adi Hutter is set to replace outgoing boss Marco Rose at Borussia Monchengladbach, reports Kicker. Rose is poised to take charge of Borussia Dortmund.

David Alaba has appeared set to swap Bayern Munich for Real Madrid.

Alaba is keen for a new challenge following a successful partnership with Bundesliga and Champions League holders Bayern.

But three of Europe's elite are still reportedly eyeing Alaba.

 

TOP STORY – TRIO NOT GIVING UP ON ALABA

Liverpool, Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain are still trying to sign wantaway Bayern Munich star David Alaba, according to Fabrizio Romano's Benchwarmers column.

Alaba will leave Bundesliga champions Bayern on a free transfer at the end of the season and he has been tipped to join LaLiga holders Real Madrid.

However, Liverpool, Chelsea and PSG are still pursuing the Austria international.

 

ROUND-UP

- RAC1 suggests Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta is one of Barcelona presidential candidate Joan Laporta's targets if Ronald Koeman does not remain at Camp Nou beyond 2020-21.

Madrid are interested in Manchester United target and Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho, reports the Daily Star. Sancho was wanted by United at the start of the season but a big-money move did not materialise.

- Mundo Deportivo claims Atletico Madrid are tracking Lyon midfielder Bruno Guimaraes, who is valued at around €25million.

Manchester United and Premier League rivals Leeds United are eyeing Torino defender Nicolas Nkoulou, according to Tuttosport. The 30-year-old is set to become a free agent at season's end.

- L'Equipe says Mauro Icardi is free to leave PSG if a suitable offer arrives amid links to Juventus. Icardi is contracted to the Ligue 1 champions until 2024, but PSG are focused on re-signing Kylian Mbappe and making Moise Kean's loan deal from Everton permanent. If Mbappe departs for Madrid, PSG will look to raise funds by selling Icardi as they dream of Tottenham's Harry Kane and Dortmund sensation Erling Haaland.

Kylian Mbappe scored two and set up another as Paris Saint-Germain beat Montpellier 4-0 in Ligue 1 on Friday.

Having faced recent questions over his form and focus, Mbappe responded with a decisive display at Parc des Princes to help Mauricio Pochettino's men to three points.

Mbappe broke the deadlock after Montpellier goalkeeper Jonas Omlin had earlier been sent off for fouling the France star, and he set up Neymar to mark his 100th PSG appearance with the second goal.

Mauro Icardi and Mbappe added two further goals within three minutes as the champions eased to a routine win, their fourth in a row by at least four goals against Michel Der Zakarian's side.

Montpellier, six games without a win in Ligue 1 before this contest, were left with a huge task when Omlin flattened Mbappe following a stunning throughball from Leandro Paredes, with a VAR review leading to the keeper's dismissal.

PSG eventually capitalised on their dominance 34 minutes in, Neymar and Angel Di Maria each playing decisive passes before Mbappe clipped a cool finish over substitute keeper Dimitry Bertaud.

It was Mbappe's 13th league goal of the season and the 13th time he has been assisted by Di Maria in the competition.

Neymar almost doubled the lead before the break but was thwarted by a good save from Bertaud, who then denied Mauro Icardi acrobatically early in the second period.

The second goal came on the hour mark, though, Mbappe teeing up Neymar for a simple finish after a fine lofted pass from Marco Verratti.

With the floodgates suddenly open, PSG scored a further two goals inside three minutes, Icardi drilling high into the net after good work from Alessandro Florenzi and then setting up Mbappe for a routine finish after Neymar led a quick break.

Bertaud did manage to deny Layvin Kurzawa a stunning fifth, tipping the full-back's bicycle kick onto the crossbar.

 

Mauricio Pochettino secured the first trophy of his managerial career as Paris Saint-Germain edged past Marseille 2-1 in the Trophee des Champions on Wednesday. 

In just his third game in charge of the French giants, former Tottenham boss Pochettino watched his side claim the trophy for the eighth consecutive year without ever having to get out of second gear. 

Mauro Icardi got them on their way, sliding in from close range after 39 minutes before Neymar, making his first appearance in a month after an ankle injury, added a second from the penalty spot five minutes from time.

Dimitri Payet pulled one back for Marseille in the 89th minute, but PSG held on to claim a deserved win. 

Paris Saint-Germain saw off Brest 3-0 to collect their first victory under new head coach Mauricio Pochettino and close the gap on Ligue 1 leaders Lyon.

PSG were held to a 1-1 draw by Saint-Etienne in Pochettino's first game in charge on Wednesday but had too much quality for Brest in Saturday's encounter at the Parc des Princes.

Moise Kean's 11th goal of the campaign in all competitions set the reigning champions on their way with 16 minutes played and substitutes Mauro Icardi and Pablo Sarabia each got on the scoresheet in the final 10 minutes.

The win - less emphatic than the scoreline may suggest - moved Pochettino's men within a point of pacesetters Lyon, who battled back from two goals down to draw 2-2 with Rennes and retain top spot.

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