PARIS: Kylian Mbappe scored his 100th goal in France’s top flight as Paris Saint-Germain swept aside title rivals Lyon 4-2 on Sunday to move to the top of Ligue 1 following a shock defeat for previous leaders Lille earlier.
Mbappe netted twice at the Groupama Stadium with Danilo Pereira and Angel Di Maria also on target as PSG raced into a four-goal lead before Islam Slimani and Maxwel Cornet pulled goals back for the home side.
The result allowed Mauricio Pochettino’s side to move into first place on goal difference from Lille, who were beaten 2-1 at home by struggling Nimes in a huge blow to their own title hopes.
Lyon would have gone top themselves with a victory but instead they remain three points off the lead in third place, while Monaco are another point back in fourth after a 4-0 victory at Saint-Etienne on Friday.
It was a perfect night for PSG, as the reigning champions bounced back from a surprise 2-1 home loss to relegation-threatened Nantes last time out and claimed a win against a direct rival in the title race for the first time this season.
They also saw Neymar return to action after a month and a half, and nine games, out injured. The world’s most expensive player came on as a substitute, replacing Mbappe midway through the second half.
Mbappe was close to his electrifying best and the World Cup winner opened the scoring 15 minutes in, following up to find the net after Marco Verratti’s shot had been parried by Lyon goalkeeper Anthony Lopes.
Marquinhos then nodded down a Presnel Kimpembe cross for Pereira to slam in and make it 2-0 just after the half-hour mark, and any hopes Lyon had of coming back into the game were blown away at the start of the second half.
First Di Maria whipped in a free-kick from wide on the right that evaded everyone on its way into the net, and then Verratti released Mbappe to break clear and finish for his second of the game on 52 minutes.
Ligue 1’s leading scorer now has 20 goals for the season and has reached a century of goals in France’s top flight in 142 appearances at the age of just 22.
PSG took their foot off the pedal after that and allowed Lyon back into the game with Algerian striker Slimani firing in from outside the box just past the hour mark before Cornet made it 4-2 inside the final 10 minutes.
'No excuses' for pitiful Lille'
Pochettino’s side are next in action after the international break on April 3 when they entertain Lille in another top-of-the-table encounter.
Lille had been top at the start of the day but their hopes of a first Ligue 1 title in a decade suffered a major blow against Nimes.
Goals from Senegalese striker Moussa Kone and captain Renaud Ripart, either side of Xeka’s equalizer for Lille, gave Nimes a victory in far northern France which lifted them out of the automatic relegation places.
Lille have now won just twice in their last six league games and been eliminated from both the Europa League and French Cup in recent weeks.
“Incredible, but that’s football. PSG lost against Nantes as well,” Lille captain Jose Fonte told Canal Plus Sport.
“We didn’t perform well. There is no excuse, but there are eight matches left until the end of the season and the battle goes on.
“Our rule number one is to defend well, not concede goals, and then we will get chances in every game, but we didn’t do that and when you don’t defend together as a team it is always difficult.”
Nimes move up into the relegation play-off position while Nantes, who were held 1-1 by Lorient, slip to 19th.
Among the other games on Sunday, South Korean star Hwang Ui-jo scored his ninth league goal of the season but could not prevent Bordeaux losing 3-1 at Montpellier.