A clinical Kylian Mbappe scored a hat-trick as Paris Saint-Germain won 3-0 away to high-flying Reims on Saturday and moved to the top of the Ligue 1 table.
Mbappe opened the scoring in the third minute in Champagne country and then netted twice more in the second half to give PSG a win which moved the reigning champions to the summit a point above Nice, who drew at Montpellier on Friday.
PSG were also grateful to goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma who denied Reims a route back into the game with a string of superb saves, as Luis Enrique’s team recovered from their midweek Champions League loss away to AC Milan.
Mbappe is Ligue 1’s leading scorer with 13 goals in 11 appearances this season, with the France captain also having netted twice in European competition.
“In all modesty I don’t need to be playing well to score goals, but I want to do both, score goals and play well. That is my objective, to always help the team as well as I can,” Mbappe told broadcaster Amazon Prime.
Asked about bouncing back from the setback in Milan, Mbappe added: “It is a different competition and all we wanted to do was win. Nice drew and we wanted to take top spot. It’s job done and we are happy with that.
“We will have time to think about the Champions League but Ligue 1 is a different competition and that means a different mindset and a different way of playing.”
That 2-1 defeat in Milan on Tuesday left PSG’s hopes of reaching the Champions League knockout phase in the balance with two group games still to go, but they do finally appear to have found their rhythm domestically after a stuttering start to the campaign.
– Donnarumma on top form –
Luis Enrique’s team were targeting a fifth straight victory in Ligue 1 and they went ahead almost from the off as Mbappe met Ousmane Dembele’s cross from the right with a superb side-foot volley low across the goalkeeper and into the bottom corner of the net.
Reims were denied an equaliser as a fine goal by Japanese international Junya Ito was disallowed for offside, and the same player was later denied by Donnarumma who also produced a superb reaction save from Amir Richardson before the interval.
A PSG side missing the suspended Achraf Hakimi and Randal Kolo Muani were again grateful to Donnarumma when the Italian repelled a Marshall Munetsi header on 56 minutes, and three minutes later they went 2-0 up.
Mbappe evaded his marker with a brilliant darting run to the back post where he converted a perfect assist rolled across the face of goal by Carlos Soler.
Donnarumma was at it again as he once more denied Zimbabwe midfielder Munetsi, before Mbappe finished off a cutback from substitute Bradley Barcola to make it 3-0 with eight minutes left.
Nice are still unbeaten this season after their stalemate on Friday in Montpellier, and they have still not been behind in a single game this season.
Third-placed Monaco can leapfrog their Cote d’Azur rivals on goal difference with a win in Saturday’s late game at Le Havre.
Reims remain in fourth place.
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