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    Kylian Mbappé haunts former club Monaco as PSG tightens French League lead

    Jan 16, 2020
    PHOTO: ap

    PARIS — Kylian Mbappé scored twice against his former club as Paris Saint-Germain won 4-1 at Monaco on Wednesday (Thursday, Manila time) to move eight points clear at the top of the French league.

    The sides drew 3-3 in Paris on Sunday night in arguably the season's most entertaining game, although this time PSG kept Monaco's attack quiet and exposed one of the worst defenses in the league.

    Neymar, from the penalty spot, and winger Pablo Sarabia grabbed the other goals for PSG, while midfielder Tiemoué Bakayoko pulled a late goal back for ninth-place Monaco.

    Neymar went close in the 18th minute when his extravagant flick from Mbappé's cross from the left was saved by goalkeeper Benjamin Lecomte.

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    Mbappé made no mistake with his chance in the 24th, latching onto Angel Di Maria's pass from the right flank, controlling the ball with one touch and then advancing at speed before drilling a low shot past Lecomte.

    He made a point of not celebrating scoring against his former club, winning the title with Monaco and reaching the Champions League semifinals in 2017 before joining PSG in a deal worth 180 million euros ($200 million).

    "You have to show respect. I was discovered here," the 21-year-old Mbappé said. "I experienced my first big moments here."

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    His goal was validated after several minutes of video review, seemingly to ascertain whether Mbappé was offside when making his run. However, a clear foul on Monaco forward Keita Baldé leading up to the goal was overlooked by VAR.

    Moments later, PSG goalie Keylor Navas saved well from the lively Gelson Martins — one of Monaco's scorers Sunday. Lecomte kept out two further shots from the irrepressible Mbappé before Neymar's penalty in first-half injury time.

    It seemed harsh on Monaco, however, with left back Layvin Kurzawa spinning and seemingly purposefully bumping into center half Kamil Glik, who was standing still. Neymar sent Lecomte the wrong way with casual ease after a staggered run-up, just as he did on Sunday.

    PSG coach Thomas Tuchel was shown a yellow card after angrily remonstrating with the fourth match official during the second half.

    It was a mixed night for the officials, with no VAR review used when Monaco striker Wissam Ben Yedder's arm was pulled back inside the area midway through the second half.

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    VAR then validated Sarabia's 72nd-minute goal after he volleyed home midfielder Marco Verratti's astute pass over the defense.

    Neymar played Mbappé through down the left in the first minute of injury time and he clipped the ball confidently across Lecomte for his 13th league goal — one behind the league's top scorer Ben Yedder.

    Although Mbappé celebrated that one, he said it was in response to some insults from the crowd.

    OTHER MATCHES

    Rennes strengthened its grip on third place with a 1-0 win at struggling Nimes.

    Forward Adrien Hunou pounced with an opportunist strike in the 64th minute as Rennes moved four points clear of fourth-place Nantes.

    Nimes center half Pablo Martinez went to head a high ball back to his goalkeeper Paul Bernardoni but it fell invitingly to Hanou, who volleyed the ball confidently over Bernardoni from inside the penalty area.

    Third place secures a spot in the Champions League qualifying rounds while second ensures automatic entry. Second-place Marseille is five points ahead of Rennes with 18 rounds remaining.

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    Nimes remained mired in 19th place and three points behind Amiens in 18th — the relegation-promotion playoff position.

    Amiens drew 1-1 at home to eighth-place Reims.

    Senegal striker Moussa Konaté equalized for Amiens in the 54th after Swiss midfielder Dereck Kutesa netted in first-half injury time.

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    PHOTO: ap
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