Paris Saint-Germain defeated Patrick Vieira’s Strasbourg 3-0 on Saturday in Ligue 1 thanks to a goal and an assist from Kylian Mbappe, while unbeaten Nice remains atop the table after defeating Marseille 1-0.
On a wet and windy day in Paris, Mbappe gave PSG the lead with a penalty kick in the tenth minute and then assisted Carlos Soler for a second goal shortly after the half-hour mark.
The defending champs, aided by a third goal from Fabian Ruiz in the 77th minute, easily prevailed.
PSG has won two in a row after suffering a 4-1 loss on the road at Newcastle United in the Champions League earlier this month. They are now only one point behind Nice for second place.
“The logical concern with these games straight after an international break is that it is clearly not easy for the players to switch their mentality but the team played well and managed the game very well,” Luis Enrique, the PSG coach.
He benched numerous starters for this game because of the importance of the following Champions League match against AC Milan.
At the opening whistle, several players, including Achraf Hakimi and Ousmane Dembele, were substituted out for newcomers Soler, Ruiz, and Lee Kang-in.
After helping South Korea win football gold at the Asian Games, Lee made his first PSG appearance in more than a month.
“In general, all of the players who have seen less action so far this season have performed admirably. According to Luis Enrique, “they took advantage of the chance they were given today.”
Ten-man Marseille was victorious
In spite of the French league’s punishment for homophobic shouting during PSG’s win over Marseille last month, there was no chance of Mbappe being rested, and he opened the scoring from the penalty spot.
Mbappe scored his ninth goal for his club this year on the penalty kick after Goncalo Ramos was fouled.
Then, Strasbourg’s South African attacker Lebo Mothiba scored what he thought was an equaliser, only to have it disallowed due to offside after a video review.
But on 31 minutes, Mbappe produced a step-over to beat his defender and then cut the ball back from the byline for Soler to nudge in for PSG’s second goal.
Not long after Mbappe went down needing treatment when Gerzino Nyamsi seemed to tread on his left foot, Soler set up his fellow Spaniard Ruiz for the game-winning goal in stoppage time.
Nonetheless, the France captain kept going.
Luis Enrique must decide whether to play the same way against Milan after sending out a team full of aggressive players, similar to the one he sent out in the loss to Newcastle.
“Each match is different,” he said, “but my objective is to have 11 players attacking and 11 defending.”
Strasbourg has now lost three straight games and has won only once in their last six contests after being purchased by BlueCo, the same company that owns Chelsea.
In his starting lineup, Vieira started five players under the age of 22 in the outfield. “My young players need to learn and learn very quickly,” he stated.
“We competed but we made too many mistakes to stand a chance.”
Substitute Evann Guessand scored the game-winning goal via a free-kick in the 79th minute after Marseille defender Leonardo Balerdi was sent off for a second yellow card.
Nice remained undefeated this season under 34-year-old Italian coach Francesco Farioli thanks to the result, but if Monaco wins on Sunday against Metz, they would take over first place on the Cote d’Azur.
Despite British owner Jim Ratcliffe’s obsession with buying into Manchester United, Nice have gotten off to a strong start to the season.
“We need to look at the league table as little as possible, but it has been a very positive start to the season,” Farioli stated.
Under new manager Gennaro Gattuso, Marseille has won just one in four games. They currently sit seven points back of the league’s frontrunners.