Soccer

Lyon vs. PSG score: Kylian Mbappe scores twice, Neymar returns as Parisians go to top of Ligue 1 table

Paris Saint-Germain have hit top spot in Ligue 1 after a 4-2 win away at Olympique Lyonnais on Sunday coupled with Lille OSC’s surprise 2-1 loss at home to Nimes Olympique a few hours earlier. The French champions wasted little time in taking the lead at Groupama Stadium with Kylian Mbappe opening the scoring after 15 minutes with the first of what would be his two goals on the night from a tight angle.

Danilo Pereira doubled PSG’s advantage just after the half hour mark with a volleyed finish from Marquinhos’ header down and Mauricio Pochettino’s men were in full control at halftime with a two-goal cushion.

Just two minutes into the second half, it was 3-0 as an Angel Di Maria free-kick found its way past Anthony Lopes in the Lyon goal and Mbappe made it four a few minutes later after being supplied by Marco Verratti just moments after an important Keylor Navas save.

Islam Slimani pulled one back for OL just after the hour mark and Maxwel Cornet added a second nine minutes from time, but it was not enough for Rudi Garcia’s home side to avoid a heavy home defeat that sees PSG move three points in front with LOSC and AS Monaco now just one point back.

Of potential concern for Les Parisiens is that Mbappe asked to be withdrawn later in the game and although he was replaced by a returning Neymar, the Frenchman’s fitness will be of the utmost importance.

Some takeaways from Sunday’s match.

PSG shows purpose

Although they conceded two second-half goals, the men from the capital showed plenty of purpose and focus in the opening 45 minutes to lead 2-0.

It has to be up there as the best half of domestic football played all season and it enabled PSG to put daylight between themselves and Lyon before the hosts tried to mount a comeback. It was Les Parisiens’ first win over a title rival so far this campaign and it came at the right time with Pochettino’s men appearing to wake up to their chance to seize top spot after Lille slipped up.

Lyon leave it too late

Slimani and Cornet’s goals were well deserved after a big improvement in the final 30 minutes, but the big question is why it took so long for Garcia’s men to get going.

PSG bossed the opening hour and Lyon only got going once the result was out of sight for them and their visitors took their foot off the gas a bit. The decision to start Mattia De Sciglio over Leo Dubois was a costly one as the Italian was involved in both of the first-half goals and will come in for severe criticism.

Keylor is key (again)

Having saved a penalty in midweek against Lille in the Coupe de France, the Costa Rica international came up big again with a number of important saves. Navas, 34, made one stop just moments before Mbappe went down the other end to score his second and another at 4-2 to stop what would almost certainly have been a third OL goal.

The former Real Madrid man has underlined his worth again over the past few weeks and he will be part of the reason PSG feel they can knock defending champions Bayern Munich out of the UEFA Champions League.

Diallo the difference-maker

Another important figure in the PSG defense, although not as crucial as Navas, was Abdou Diallo. He has shored up the back line since Pochettino threw him on at halftime of the 1-1 draw with Barcelona in the Champions League recently.

The Frenchman showed at Old Trafford earlier in the season that he can make a shaky defense tighter on the left and he has done exactly that with Alessandro Florenzi now arguably the weakest member of that rearguard.

If the 24-year-old can continue to build on these recent showings, then PSG can perhaps work on a solution at right-back before they come up against Bayern’s attacking might.

Hooray for Ney

The Brazilian superstar is finally back on the pitch after weeks out through injury and PSG can now start to work out the best way to condition him ahead of the Bayern clash in April.

A 20-minute run-out was ideal to ease him back into things, the only problem was that he came on to replace Mbappe, who might have picked up a knock.

Lively Ligue 1

PSG’s win makes the chase for the Championnat crown tighter than ever with four points separating the top four and Monaco coming on strong since the start of 2021. LOSC dropping points was a surprise and Lyon needed a repeat of their heroics in Paris if they were to take control of the situation.

Instead, it is PSG who profit and lead marginally over Lille with OL now looking over their shoulders at ASM gaining ground.

1. Paris Saint-Germain

30

63

+46

2. Lille

30

63

+31

3. Lyon

30

60

+29

4. Monaco

30

59

+22



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