Birthday boy Mbappé keeps PSG flying
Kylian Mbappé scored on his 19th birthday as Paris Saint-Germain defeated SM Caen 3-1 on Wednesday to ensure they have a nine-point lead at the top of the table at the halfway stage in the season.
Paris Saint-Germain 3-1 SM Caen
Already assured of top spot, Unai Emery's men sought to secure their nine-point advantage — if not extend it — ahead of the winter break.
They quickly seized the initiative. Javier Pastore picked out Mbappé who — after beating Rémy Vercoutre — fired over (5'). Edinson Cavani showed his young strike partner how to do it shortly after though.
The Uruguay international watched Mbappé go past Cheikh Mbengue and then accelerate away from Damien Da Silva before crossing — Cavani's movement and his backheel flick did the rest for his 19th league goal of the season (21').
PSG needed Kevin Trapp to keep out Ronny Rodelin's drive (24'), but it was the hosts who threatened to add to the scoreline though Cavani (28') and Pastore (39') only for Vercoutre to be equal to the task both times.
A Neymar Jr free-kick might have beaten the former Olympique Lyonnais 'keeper (42') but instead sailed perillously close to the crossbar. Trapp then turned away a Frédéric Guilbert shot (53') before Mbappé gave PSG breathing space with their second (57') and his eighth of the league campaign.
Vercoutre was kept busy again. Giovani Lo Celso (62'), Neymar Jr (69' and 74') both stretched the veteran before Yuri Berchiche added the third nine minutes from time.
A Thiago Silva foul gave Ivan Santini the chance to pull one back in the final minute from the penalty spot, but it was not enough to spoil PSG's Christmas break.
THE PLAYER: Edinson Cavani
The Uruguay international just cannot stop scoring. He is averaging more than a goal a game in the league this season, and shows no sign of letting up.
THE STAT: 13
PSG are unbeaten in their last 13 league meetings with Caen, winning ten of them.