PARIS: Kylian Mbappe came off the bench to give Paris St Germain a 2-1 home win against Nice as the French champions reclaimed top spot in Ligue 1 on Saturday.
Mbappe netted seven minutes from time to put PSG on 25 points from nine games, two ahead of Olympique de Marseille.
Nice are 13th on eight points.
PSG, who face Benfica away on Wednesday in a Champions League group-stage match, struggled against a sturdy Nice side until Mbappe came on in the 59th minute.
Mbappe had been given a breather by manager Christophe Galtier, staying on the bench as Hugo Ekitike started alongside Lionel Messi and Neymar up front.
Messi opened the scoring in the 28th minute when he curled a perfect free kick into the back of the net after being fouled by Nice captain Dante.
The Argentine came close to scoring again on the stroke of halftime with a fierce strike, only for Kasper Schmeichel to tip the ball over the crossbar.
“I’m incredibly lucky to see him every morning in training,” said Galtier.
Nice came back from the interval with all guns blazing and they were rewarded after two minutes when Gaetan Laborde latched on to a cross from Youcef Atal to equalise.
“We are not playing less well than we were, but our opponents are starting to know us,” said PSG defender Marquinhos after a disjointed display by the champions.
“We are not going to have an exceptional match every time or win 5-0. It’s important to know how to win 1-0 or 2-1 with a goal at the end, like tonight.
“It was complicated in the first half, we couldn’t find any space to create chances. Nice blocked us but a superb free-kick Leo Messi unblocked the situation.”
The goal prompted Galtier to send on Mbappe in place of Ekitike.
The France forward threatened with his pace but lacked sharpness in the area, until the 83rd minute when he connected with Nordi Mukiele’s cross to put the hosts ahead.
It was Mbappe’s eighth goal in Ligue 1 this season, putting him at the top of the scoring charts alongside Neymar.
Published in Dawn, October 3rd, 2022