Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) moved an inch closer to securing a record 11th French league title with a 5-0 home win over Ajaccio on Saturday night that saw Lionel Messi receiving a mixed reception on his return from suspension.
Fabian Ruiz opened the scoring on 22 minutes at the Parc des Princes and Achraf Hakimi added a second goal before Kylian Mbappe struck twice shortly after half-time.
Mohamed Youssouf compounded a miserable night for the Corsicans with an own goal for PSG’s fifth, while Hakimi and Ajaccio midfielder Thomas Mangani were sent off after a late bust-up.
Africa Today News, New York reports that PSG will be needing four points from their final three games — against Auxerre, Strasbourg, and Clermont — to secure the Ligue 1 title after restoring their six-point lead over second-placed Lens.
Messi’s name elicited a combination of whistles and applause when it was read out before kick-off after he was banned by the club for last weekend’s match over an unauthorised trip to Saudi Arabia.
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The Argentine again drew jeers with his early touches in what was likely his penultimate appearance in Paris ahead of a reported move to Saudi Arabia for the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner.
Three defeats in their past four home games for PSG had allowed Lens to stay in an unlikely title race, but Ajaccio offered little resistance as their relegation to Ligue 2 was confirmed.
Danilo’s threaded pass was flicked into the path of Ruiz and the Spain midfielder took a couple of smart touches before finishing clinically for his second goal in as many games.
Hakimi then swept in the rebound after Mbappe’s effort was parried by Francois-Joseph Sollacaro, with the goal allowed to stand despite the France striker using his arm to control in the build-up.
Mbappe hit the 25-goal mark for the fourth time early in the second half, slotting beyond Sollacaro after a scramble in the box to take over again as the league’s top scorer this term.
He then produced a brilliant first-time volley to lash in PSG’s fourth minutes later after a long ball forward from Sergio Ramos glanced off the head of a backtracking defender.
An unfortunate Youssouf diverted a shot from Marquinhos into his own net on 73 minutes and both teams finished with 10 players after a challenge on Messi triggered a needless scuffle.
Hakimi, who was sent off against Lorient two weeks ago, received his second red card in as many outings after getting into an altercation with Mangani that also led to his dismissal.