Angel Di Maria was on target as Paris Saint-Germain routed Montpellier Hérault SC 5-0.
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Round 22 Review: PSG cruise as Monaco unravel

Publish on 03/02/2020 at 08:32 - S. TELFORD

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Paris Saint-Germain routed Montpellier Hérault SC to strengthen their grip on first place; Stade Rennais edged FC Nantes in a thrilling Derby de la Bretagne and Nîmes Olympique heaped the misery on AS Monaco and embattled coach Robert Moreno.

PSG looked utterly indomitable at their Parc des Princes, although the visitors' chances weren't helped by the fact that 21-year-old goalkeeper Dimitry Bertaud was given his marching orders after just 17 minutes for a handball outside of his box with Kylian Mbappé on the charge.

Unhappy Mbappé

Mbappé added his name to Pablo Sarabia's on the scoresheet - as did Angel di Maria and Layvin Kurzawa - but was visibly displeased when coach Thomas Tuchel substituted him for Mauro Icardi on 68 minutes. Undefeated in 19 games in all competitions and 13 points clear, Tuchel addressed his top scorer's reaction post-match.

"Kylian doesn't like coming off, no player does," he said. "It doesn't look good but we're not the only club where players react like that. It creates a distraction. I'm not angry, but I'm sad because its unnecessary. This is football, not tennis, and you need to have respect for everyone."

Breton derby thriller

Rennes and Nantes had opened Round 22 on Friday with a thrilling 3-2 win for the former at Roazhon Park. Prodigious midfielder Eduardo Camavinga had a rare off day, culpable for the two goals his side conceded, but Raphinha's double, the second of which was scored seven minutes into injury time, spared the 17-year-old's blushes.

"It's been a long time since there was a derby like this," said a disbelieving Julien Stéphan after the final whistle. "It'll certainly be part of history. This isn't our best collective performance, we must be clear about that, but it isn't the first time we've turned a match around."

A tale of two 'keepers

Indeed, Rennes have won some 14 points from losing positions this season, and find themselves on the podium behind an Olympique de Marseille who failed to find a way past Girondins de Bordeaux in Sunday's late kick-off. Steve Mandanda and Benoît Costil both pulled off point-saving stops, and OM coach André Villas-Boas - who remains undefeated in 11 games - was quick to praise both.

"Mandanda made two impossible saves in the first half and another in the second," he said. "It's true he's saved us on several occasions this season but Costil also made some important saves, too. It was an open game, good to watch I hope, with two teams trying to win."

Lille bounce back

LOSC are the best of the rest after they rebounded from their shock Coupe de France exit to fourth-tier SAS Épinal on Wednesday with a 2-1 win at Coupe de la Ligue holders RC Strasbourg Alsace on Saturday.

Adrien Thomasson opened the scoring for the hosts but Les Dogues bit back with goals from Gabriel and Victor Osimhen to leapfrog Montpellier into fourth with a 2-1 win.

Relegation scrap

At the other end of the table, Dijon FCO opened up a five-point gap on the relegation zone thanks to an impressive 3-0 win over Stade Brestois 29, Mama Baldé in particular cutting the mustard with a brace.

Two of the three teams in the relegation zone - Amiens SC and Toulouse FC - further helped their cause by drawing 0-0, which was the only scoreless game aside from the Bordeaux-Marseille stalemate.

Monaco struggles continue

Nîmes Olympique are between basement dwellers Toulouse and Amiens in the bottom three, but were emphatic 3-1 winners over AS Monaco. Wissam Ben Yedder scored his league-leading 13th goal of the season for Robert Moreno's men but Nîmes equalised through Florian Miguel before Tiémoué Bakayoko and Gelson Martins were sent off, making the subsequent scoreline rather more inevitable.

"I'm proud of my players despite this setback and the two red cards," said an embattled Moreno, who has overseen three consecutive league defeats. "We had a good defensive game. It's difficult to talk about a match played with nine men but we could have equalised in the last 15 minutes through Wissam."

Other business

Elsewhere, Stade de Reims treated Angers SCO to some Champagne football, running out 4-1 winners in their mid-table clash at the Stade Raymond Kopa; OGC Nice avenged their Coupe de France exit to Olympique Lyonnais, Kasper Dolberg's brace helping them to a 2-1 win; and five-star FC Metz beat AS Saint-Etienne 3-1, with Opa Nguette getting a double of his own.