World Cup foes Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe inspired Paris St Germain to a 3-0 win at Olympique de Marseille on Sunday to extend their Ligue 1 lead to eight points.
Mbappe, who bagged a double, was set up by Messi for both his goals, and repaid the favour by laying on another for the Argentine forward as PSG, who were without the injured Neymar, moved to 60 points from 25 games with second-placed Marseille on 52.
France forward Mbappe, who was on the losing side against Messi’s Argentina in the World Cup final, became PSG’s joint record scorer with 200 goals — level with Edinson Cavani — while Messi netted his 700th in club football.
“We were aggressive, we put intensity into the game, that’s what we’d been missing,” said PSG centre back Sergio Ramos. Marseille coach Igor Tudor said he did not regret his side’s high-risk approach. “Why should we have changed our way of playing? It has been working well this season,” he said.
“Mbappe’s presence didn’t change anything. His presence made it more difficult for us to play our game but we were not going to change it.”
PSG, who were knocked out of the French Cup by Marseille earlier this month, ended a three-game losing streak in all competitions by beating Lille last weekend and they were focused throughout at the Velodrome.
They suffered an early blow when Presnel Kimpembe left the pitch on a stretcher, two weeks after making his comeback from a three-month layoff. He will undergo surgery after a rupture of his right Achilles tendon.
Third-placed Monaco slumped to a 3-0 home defeat against Nice.
Gift from the heart
Istanbul: Besiktas fans threw thousands of stuffed toys onto the pitch during Sunday’s match against Antalyaspor to donate to children impacted by the earthquake in Turkey and neighbouring Syria.
The Turkish Super Lig game, which ended 0-0, was paused after four minutes and 17 seconds to allow fans to throw the gifts onto the pitch. The earthquake first struck Turkey early on February 6.
“Our fans threw scarves, berets and plush toys on the ground of Vodafone Park to be given as gifts to the children in the earthquake region to cheer them up,” Besiktas said in a club statement.
The death toll from the earthquakes in Turkey and Syria has crossed 50,000. Ghana winger Christian Atsuwas among the victims. He was found dead on February 18 under the building where he lived in southern Turkey.