PSG within touching distance of Ligue 1 title as Mbappe strikes again

May 21, 2023 _ PARIS (Reuters) – Paris St Germain took a decisive step towards a record 11th Ligue 1 title as Kylian Mbappe struck twice in a 2-1 win at relegation-threatened AJ Auxerre on Sunday.

Mbappe’s double in the opening eight minutes moved PSG onto 84 points with two games left, six ahead of second-placed RC Lens with a much better goal difference (+50 to +34).

Christophe Galtier’s side need to avoid defeat at Racing Strasbourg next Saturday to wrap up the title.

AJ Auxerre, who are in 16th place on 34 points, one point above the relegation zone, travel to Toulouse in the penultimate round of matches.

“We relaxed a little after the two goals but in the end we have one hand on the trophy,” said captain Marquinhos, who like most of the team was far from impressive.

“We’ve done a lot this season but we knew that if we had dropped points things could have become complicated. We’re not going to celebrate the title tonight, but we will celebrate the win.”

Mbappe broke the deadlock after six minutes with a right-footed effort into the top corner and doubled their tally two minutes later with a 20-metre strike after being set up by Lionel Messi.

Mbappe now tops the Ligue 1 scoring chart having netted 28 times this season, two more than Olympique Lyonnais forward Alexandre Lacazette.

Auxerre were no pushovers, however, and Rayan Raveloson’s half-volley crashed against the bar, while Gianluigi Donnarumma made a brilliant save on the stroke of halftime to deny Nuno Da Costa.

The hosts reduced the arrears six minutes into the second half, Lassine Sinayoko beating Donnarumma with a low angled shot for his first Ligue 1 goal.

PSG were overwhelmed in midfield and had Donnarumma to thank for not conceding an equaliser which would have been largely deserved.

It would also have given some faint hope in the title race to Lens, who earlier recovered from a shaky start to beat Lorient 3-1 and move five points clear of third-placed Olympique de Marseille, closing in on automatic qualification for the Champions League group stage.

Florian Sotoca, Adrien Thomasson and Seko Fofana struck after Romain Faivre’s opener for Lorient.

Sixth-placed Stade Rennais demolished already-relegated AC Ajaccio, who travel to Lens next Saturday, 5-0, and they trail fourth-placed Monaco by three points and Lille in fifth by one.

Monaco lost 3-1 at Lyon on Friday.

Stade Brestois are safe from relegation thanks to a 2-1 home victory against Clermont.

(Reporting by Julien Pretot; Editing by Toby Davis)

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