Kylian Mbappe scored for the seventh consecutive Ligue 1 game as a below-par Paris Saint-Germain beat Toulouse 1-0 at Stadium Municipal and extended their winning streak to eight league matches.
The World Cup winner controlled Thilo Kehrer’s cross before firing home in the 74th minute of a game that offered few memorable moments and underlined the importance of the injured Neymar and Edinson Cavani to Thomas Tuchel’s side.
PSG striker Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting will struggle to shake the image of his first-half effort soaring over the top of an open net from his mind after he endured a difficult evening.
But Mbappe’s strike ensured the champions restored their 20-point lead at the top of the table, although Tuchel will have been disappointed with the flat nature of his side’s performance.
— Paris Saint-Germain (@PSG_English) March 31, 2019
Choupo-Moting missed an absolute sitter after 17 minutes, spooning the rebound from Mbappe’s saved shot over the crossbar from point-blank range with an empty net to aim at.
A blunder by Toulouse goalkeeper Baptiste Reynet allowed Marquinhos to bundle the ball over the line but a VAR consultation saw the goal ruled out, with the Brazilian defender judged to be offside when Presnel Kimpembe headed the ball through Reynet’s hands.
At the other end, Alphonse Areola showed superb reactions to get an arm to Christopher Jullien’s close-range header and keep the scoreline level at half-time.
Areola made another excellent save to keep out Yaya Sanogo’s low shot after some intricate approach play by the lively Max Gradel, and at the other end Colin Dagba’s volleyed cross narrowly evaded the on-rushing Mbappe as PSG probed for a winner.
The goal arrived when Kehrer picked out Mbappe with a cross that the 20-year-old deftly touched down before rattling the ball into the bottom-right corner of the net to clinch the victory.
What does it mean? Toulouse back in trouble
A point against the league leaders would have moved Toulouse one step closer to safety from relegation but defeat leaves them still nine points above the drop zone with eight games left to play.
Tireless Gradel shines
Toulouse captain Gradel led by example, driving his side forward time and again with plenty of success to instill them with the belief they could compete with the country’s best team.
Choupo-Moting comes up short
A simple tap-in should have ensured Choupo-Moting broke the deadlock when presented with an open goal in the first half, but his ballooned effort only drew attention to Cavani and Neymar’s absence.
PSG must prepare for Wednesday’s Coupe de France semi-final against Nantes, who then travel to Toulouse on Sunday.
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