Kylian Mbappe scored twice to inspire Paris Saint-Germain to a late come-from-behind 2-1 victory over Caen at Stade Michel-d’Ornano on Saturday.
France international Mbappe took his Ligue 1 tally to 24 goals this season with a pivotal double after Casimir Ninga gave Caen a surprise lead in the 56th minute.
Layvin Kurzawa, Marquinhos and Angel Di Maria were all denied by the frame of the goal in the first half, while the latter struck the upright for a second time after Mbappe had equalised from the spot.
The 20-year-old ensured PSG would head back to the capital with all three points, though, when he swept home from close range in the 87th minute, the Ligue 1 leaders opening a 20-point advantage over Lille, who face Dijon on Sunday.
Kurzawa struck the bar from inside the six-yard box and Enzo Crivelli did the same for Caen from Saif-Eddine Khaoui’s free-kick in a frenetic opening quarter of an hour.
Marquinhos was denied by the bar before Brice Samba got a crucial touch to turn Di Maria’s 36th-minute shot against the upright and the Argentine saw his follow-up effort blocked by Jonathan Gradit.
However, PSG were behind 11 minutes after the restart. A clever free-kick routine saw Ninga get away from Dani Alves and fire across Alphonse Areola into the bottom-left corner.
The visitors hit back just three minutes later when Mbappe slotted home from the penalty spot after Younn Zahary blocked Moussa Diaby’s cross with his arm.
Di Maria headed Thomas Meunier’s cross against the post from the left side of the six-yard box and Samba kept out Paredes in the 80th minute.
PSG appeared destined for a draw when Gradit blocked a shot from Meunier on the line, but Mbappe was on hand to sweep home the rebound to seal a dramatic turnaround.
— Paris Saint-Germain (@PSG_English) March 2, 2019
What does it mean? Fresh faces for United
Although Mbappe, Marquinhos and Alves all returned to the starting line-up after being rested for the Coupe de France quarter-final win over Dijon on Tuesday, Thomas Tuchel left a number of key players out for the trip north. Thiago Silva and Marco Verratti received a break ahead of the crunch Champions League visit of Manchester United on Wednesday, while Julian Draxler and Juan Bernat played limited minutes from the bench.
Delightful Di Maria
Di Maria has taken his game up a notch since the injuries to Neymar and Edinson Cavani and he caused Caen no end of problems on Saturday. The former Real Madrid man was a consistent threat, hitting the post twice and creating a pair of opportunities for team-mates before he was replaced by Draxler in the 65th minute.
Alves at sea
Brazil international Alves has been used in a variety of positions for PSG this season but he struggled alongside Paredes in the centre of midfield. He was guilty of lax marking when Ninga struck the opener and he completed just 78 per cent of his passes before making way for Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting in the 78th minute.
PSG will look to close out their Champions League last-16 tie with United at the Parc des Princes on Wednesday. Caen have a week to prepare for a Ligue 1 trip to Rennes next Sunday.
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