Thursday, June 24, 2021

Paris Saint-Germain 4-0 Reims: Neymar and Mbappe on target to take Ligue 1 title race to final day

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 16 May 2021

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Neymar and Kylian Mbappe were on target as Paris Saint-Germain kept alive their hopes of retaining the Ligue 1 title with a 4-0 victory over Reims on Sunday.

Mauricio Pochettino’s side will go into next weekend’s final round of the season against Brest one point behind leaders Lille, who were held to a 0-0 draw by Saint-Etienne.

PSG will only get their hands on the title if they better the result Lille get against Angers next weekend, needing Christophe Galtier’s team to slip up.

Neymar opened the scoring early on with a penalty after Yunis Abdelhamid had been dismissed for handling an Mbappe shot. World Cup winner Mbappe, Marquinhos and Moise Kean wrapped up the most routine of victories.

Any hopes Reims had of securing back-to-back wins at the Parc des Princes were all but extinguished in the 13th minute.

Abdelhamid received his marching orders for handling Mbappe’s goalbound effort, with Neymar nonchalantly slotting home his ninth league goal of the campaign from the resulting penalty.

Mbappe was not to be denied 11 minutes later, sliding home from close range after Thomas Foket had inexplicably rolled the ball across the face of his own goal.

France international Mbappe then fired wide after being played in by a sumptuous Neymar flick as PSG failed to add the third goal their dominance deserved before the interval.

Mbappe went close on a number of occasions at the start of the second period, while Neymar saw an effort ruled out for offside after Ander Herrera had struck the post from distance.

Neymar turned provider for PSG’s third after 68 minutes, his corner from the left headed past Predrag Rajkovic by Marquinhos from six yards.

Substitute Kean fired into the bottom-right corner from 15 yards a minute from full-time as PSG inflicted a first defeat in six away games on Reims.

What does it mean? PSG ready to pounce

The title is still very much in Lille’s hands but PSG have given themselves a fighting chance of retaining the trophy. They will require a big favour from Angers if they are to end the domestic season in triumphant fashion, but Lille’s inability to see off Saint-Etienne suggests the pressure is starting to tell for Galtier’s men.

Victory over Reims was never in doubt after Abdelhamid’s red card as PSG extended their unbeaten run in Ligue 1 to six games – their longest run under Pochettino.

Mbappe shines again for hosts

Mbappe was at the heart of everything good about PSG’s display. He was responsible for the penalty which was so coolly dispatched by Neymar before bringing up his 40th goal in all competitions this season – his best tally in a single season.

Abdelhamid costs his side

PSG have only lost to Rennes, Monaco and Lyon more often than Reims in Ligue 1 since the 2011-12 season. However, David Guion’s side never stood a chance of inflicting another defeat on their more illustrious opponents once Abdelhamid had seen red for a foolish handball.

What’s next?

PSG have the small matter of the Coupe de France final against Monaco on Wednesday before their visit to Brest on Sunday. Reims, meanwhile, finish their campaign at home to Bordeaux.

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