Monday, May 29, 2023

Messi returns with PSG, but Mbappe steals focus in win over Ajaccio

PARIS ( Associated Press) – Lionel Messi returned to the Paris Saint-Germain lineup after a brief suspension, but it was Kylian Mbappe who grabbed headlines by scoring twice in Saturday’s 5-0 rout of Ajaccio.

PSG edged closer to a record 11th French league title by extending their lead over second-placed Lens to six points with three rounds remaining.

The beating sentenced the descent to Ajaccio, which is the 18th.

Embappé’s pair of goals in the second half allowed him to reach 26 goals, with which he leads the league, two above Alexandre Lacazette, the Lyon forward who plays this Sunday.

Messi, the reigning World Cup champion, missed PSG’s previous match in December after being suspended by the club for traveling to Saudi Arabia to fulfill business commitments without authorisation. The Argentine star apologized and the suspension was lifted this week.

Public reaction was mixed.

Some fans whistled at the star, but the absence of the PSG ultras somewhat eased the tension at the Parc des Princes.

The Paris Ultra Collective, which usually stands behind one of the goals, has decided to boycott matches until further notice amid a growing feud with PSG president Nasser Al-Khelafi.

Spanish midfielder Fabian Ruiz and right-back Achraf Hakimi put PSG up 2–0 at halftime. Embappé made it 3-0 after 47 minutes with a superb volley from the edge of the area to make it 54.

Brazilian central defender Marquinhos fired a shot which led to an own goal.

Hakimi was sent off for the second consecutive game at home. After a brief altercation in the 77th, Ajaccio received a red card along with midfielder Thomas Mangani.

Both teams wore rainbow-coloured numbers to show support for the fight against homophobia.

Lens won 2-1 at home on Friday to move closer to qualifying directly for the Champions League.

In Saturday’s other game, striker Habib Diallo continued to show excellent form, scoring twice as Strasbourg beat Nice 2-0 to inch closer to safety.

The Senegalese forward scored after only 40 seconds. It is the third time in the campaign that he scores before the end of the first minute.

His second score took him to 59 to reach 20 goals in the league.

Strasbourg are in 14th place, six points above Nantes, who are in 17th and the first relegation position, in a season in which four teams will drop down.

Nation World News Desk
Nation World News Desk
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