Kylian Mbappé brought up a half-century of Ligue 1 Conforama goals on his way to a brace as Paris Saint-Germain eased to a 3-0 win over Nîmes Olympique on Saturday.
Paris Saint-Germain 3 - 0 Nîmes Olympique
Christopher Nkunku gave PSG a half-time lead at the Parc des Princes before Mbappé netted twice in the second half as Thomas Tuchel's men extended their enormous lead at the top of the table to 17 points with a game in hand on LOSC in second. It was their 14th win out of 14 at home in the league this season.
It was an ultimately comfortable win for the reigning champions but they were fortunate to find themselves ahead at the interval against a visiting side who gave a good account of themselves.
Tuchel made five changes to the Paris team following the 5-1 win over Montpellier Hérault SC in midweek, with Ángel Di María and Presnel Kimpembe among the players left out - they watched from the stand alongside Edinson Cavani, who is still recovering from injury.
Big chance missed...
They saw Nîmes come close twice in the early stages, first when Téji Savanier fired just over from long range (10') and then when skipper Anthony Briançon headed over, unmarked, at a corner (20'). He probably should have scored and it seemed inevitable that he would go on to regret not doing so.
Mbappé was denied by a brilliant Paul Bernardoni save in the 33rd minute and then again by the offside flag after he rounded the goalkeeper to put the ball in an empty net (38'). It was a marginal call, and when the opening goal did come five minutes before the break it was Nkunku who scored it, controlling Marco Verratti's ball over the top and finishing brilliantly for his second of the season.
Class tells in the end
Mbappé then had another goal disallowed on the stroke of half-time - he clearly turned the ball in with his arm after Thiago Silva had headed on a corner. The sense that it was not going to be the young superstar's day grew after the break as he fired just wide, was denied by Bernardoni and then missed the target from a Layvin Kurzawa assist, all by the hour mark.
However, he finally got his 50th top-flight goal in the 69th minute, finishing easily from six yards from a Juán Bernat assist. And he completed the scoring with his second of the evening a minute from time, beating Bernardoni after being released by Nkunku on the break. Mid-table Nîmes had given such a good account of themselves for so long, but class told in the end.
THE PLAYER: Kylian Mbappé
It looked like it might be a frustrating afternoon for Mbappé after he had two goals disallowed in the first half, and was also denied by a combination of slightly wayward finishing and good goalkeeping from Paul Bernardoni. And yet he still managed to finish with a brace, taking him to four goals in three league games in the last week, and 27 in all competitions this season.
THE STAT: 50
Mbappé's first goal here saw him reach his half-century of goals in Ligue 1 Conforama. He has 51 in 88 appearances at this level, a remarkable tally for a player who is on course to win his third league title at the age of 20, to add to his World Cup winner's medal.