Marseille, February 27 (BNA): World Cup rivals Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe inspired Paris Saint-Germain to a 3-0 victory over arch-rivals Olympique de Marseille, extending the Ligue 1 lead to eight points.
Mbappe, who got a brace, set up by Messi for each of his goals, returned the favor by setting up another for the Argentine forward as PSG, who were without the injured Neymar, moved to 60 points from 25 games with the second-placed side. Marseille on the 52nd, reports Reuters.
France striker Mbappe, who was on the losing side to Argentina’s Messi in the World Cup final, became PSG’s record goalscorer with 200 goals – equal to Edinson Cavani – while Messi scored his 700th goal in club football.
“We were intense, we put intensity in the game, and that’s what we were missing,” PSG defender Sergio Ramos said.
Marseille coach Igor Theodore said he did not regret his team’s high-risk style.
“Why should we change our way of playing? He’s been doing well this season,” he said.
“Having Mbappe didn’t change anything. Having him made it more difficult for us to play our game but we won’t change it.”
Third-placed Monaco lost 3-0 at home to Nice, who prevailed thanks to a brace from Terem Mouffe and a superb half-volley from Jefren Thuram.
The result leaves Monaco 50 points ahead of fourth-placed RC Lens on goals scored after the North drew 1-1 with Montpellier on Saturday.
Paris Saint-Germain, who was knocked out of the French Cup in the last 16 by Marseille earlier this month, ended a three-match losing streak in all competitions by defeating Lille last weekend, and they were focused all the time in the Velodrome.
They were dealt an early blow when Presnel Kimpembe, who missed the World Cup finals for France with an Achilles problem, left the pitch on a stretcher, two weeks after returning after a three-month absence.
Matteo Guendouzi created a danger as Marseille pressed hard and high, but they were attacked on the counter and the hosts were punished in the 25th minute when Messi played with Mbappe through the France striker to advance into the area and beat Pau Lopez with a low shot.
The roles were reversed four minutes later when Mbappe crossed for Messi, who tapped in from close range to double the advantage in front of a Serie A record crowd of 65,800.
Messi then missed a babysitter, and Lopez denied Mbappe after the Argentine found him in the area again, before Marquinhos’ angled shot headed wide as Marseille were caught again on the break.
Messi lifted the ball beautifully into the path of Mbappe, who fired home with his left foot to score his 16th goal of the season in Ligue 1.
Gianluigi Donnarumma made a superb save from Nuno Tavares’ header in the 67th minute, ending any hope of a Marseille comeback as PSG secured their first clean sheet in six league matches.
Paris Saint-Germain next meets Nantes at home before traveling to Bayern Munich in the second leg of the Champions League round of 16, after losing the first match 1-0 at the Parc des Princes.