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Saturday, May 08, 2021

PSG scores last-gasp winner, rivals Monaco and Lyon also win

Defending champion Paris Saint-Germain scored in the last seconds of injury time to beat Saint-Etienne 3-2 and close the gap on league leader Lille to one point.

By: AP |
Updated: April 19, 2021 9:52:39 am
Paris St Germain's Mauro Icardi celebrates scoring their third goal with Kylian Mbappe (Source: Reuters)

Defending champion Paris Saint-Germain scored in the last seconds of injury time to beat Saint-Etienne 3-2 and close the gap on league leader Lille to one point on Sunday.

PSG had just gifted Saint-Etienne an equalizer in the second minute of injury time when Mauro Icardi rose to head home Angel Di Maria’s cross three minutes later as the substitutes combined to give PSG a much-needed victory. Kylian Mbappe scored two goals.

There are only five games left after this weekend in one of the closest title races for many years. Third-place Monaco won 3-0 at struggling Bordeaux to stay one point behind PSG and one ahead of fourth-place Lyon, which won 2-1 at Nantes with two goals from Netherlands forward Memphis Depay.

Lyon hosts Lille next Sunday.

Depay latched onto a clever pass from Brazil midfielder Lucas Paqueta to clip the ball over goalkeeper Alban Lafont in the fourth minute, and netted from the penalty spot in the 36th after Lafont fouled forward Karl Toko Ekambi.

Depay moved above Wissam Ben Yedder into second place in the scoring charts with 18 league goals, but still five behind PSG’s Mbappe.

At Parc des Princes, Mbappe equalized with a fine finish in the 78th, one minute after striker Denis Bouanga put the visitors ahead, and converted a penalty in the 86th after being fouled by goalkeeper Etienne Green.

PSG gifted the visitors a goal when Bouanga was given too much space down the left and his shot was poorly dealt with by goalkeeper Sergio Rico with Romain Hamouma in position to tap in.

Earlier, PSG winger Pablo Sarabia struck the post with a free kick after 30 minutes and Green _ a former club ball boy _ made his first save five minutes later from Rafinha’s low shot.

In between, Saint-Etienne winger Wahbi Khazri had a goal ruled out for offisde.

Pochettino made a triple substitution midway through the second half, bringing on midfielder Marco Verratti, Di Maria and Icardi.

Di Maria failed to close down on the left and overlapping full back Miguel Trauco had plenty of time to pick out Bouanga’s close-range finish.

But Saint-Etienne was napping at the restart.

Verratti’s long ball over the top was expertly controlled by Mbappe with the outside of his foot and he slid it under Green for 1-1.

Pochettino’s first game in charge of PSG was also against Saint-Etienne in January and ended in a draw.

He was somewhat fortunate this time, while Claude Puel said his young Saint-Etienne side paid for a lack of composure.

“It really hurts to concede a goal 15 seconds from time … We scored a great first goal, but celebrated it far too much and conceded straight after,” Puel said. “We didn’t get our reward due to some inexperience. We paid dearly for it, so there are a lot of regrets.”

Lille dropped points when it was held 1-1 at home to Montpellier on Friday.

CLINICAL MONACO

Striker Kevin Volland put Monaco ahead in the 28th from strike partner Wissam Ben Yedder’s pass, winger Gelson Martins struck just after the break and substitute Stevan Jovetic headed in a late third.

Monaco has lost only once in the past 21 games overall.

OTHER MATCHES

Lens drew 1-1 at Brest and is only one point ahead of sixth-place Marseille in the chase for fifth spot, a Europa League place.

Last-place Dijon ended a run of 12 league defeats with a 2-0 home win against midtable Nice.

Also, it was: Nimes 1, Strasbourg 1; and Reims 0, Metz 0.

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