Kylian Mbappe became Paris Saint-Germain’s all-time leading scorer in Ligue 1 as the French champions took a big step toward retaining their title with a 3-1 win over second-placed Lens at the Parc des Princes on Saturday.
Mbappe, already PSG’s record goal scorer in all competitions, scored his 139th Ligue 1 goal in the 31st minute to beat the previous mark set by Edinson Cavani.
By that point, Lens had already been reduced to 10 men following a 19th-minute red card shown to Salis Abdul Samed for a dangerous challenge on the ankle of Achraf Hakimi.
The home side effectively made sure of the win before the half-time interval thanks to further impressive goals from Vitinha and Lionel Messi.
Spurred on by two half-time substitutions, Lens produced a fight in the second period and got a goal back through a penalty from Przemyslaw Frankowski after handball in the area by Fabian Ruiz. But the deficit was always going to be too much too overcome with Lens’ numerical disadvantage.
Recent back-to-back defeats for PSG had seen in-form Lens close the gap at the top of Ligue 1 to just six points. But Christophe Galtier’s side made light work of their opponents on Saturday to extend their advantage to nine points with seven games of the season remaining.
Marseille will leapfrog Lens into second place by a point if they win their game in hand at home to Troyes on Saturday.
Mbappe scored his league-leading 20th goal of the season when he took a pass from midfielder Vitinha and turned quickly before hitting a first-time shot into the bottom right corner in the 31st minute. Vitinha doubled the lead six minutes later with a 25-yardstrike into the same corner.
Messi then combined in the 40th with Mbappe, who backheeled the ball to the Argentine for a low strike. It was Messi’s 15th league goal.
Lens played better than PSG in the second half, despite being a player down. A handball from PSG midfielder Ruiz following a corner was awarded after a VAR review and Lens’ Poland winger Frankowski sent goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma the wrong way in the 60th.
Lens’ 15-goal top scorer Lois Openda had a shot saved in the 64th and then forced a corner as the visitors kept up the pressure.
PSG coach Christophe Galtier has been under pressure after eight defeats this year across all competitions, and this week vehemently denied allegations he had made racist and anti-Muslim comments when he was in charge of Nice last season.
The Parc des Princes crowd fell silent as Lens dominated early on, with Samed’s header smartly saved by Donnarumma after just two minutes.
PSG defender Danilo almost scored an embarrassing own-goal when his looping back pass from near halfway surprised Donnarumma in the 10th and bounced just wide.
The match turned in PSG’s favor when midfielder Samed lunged at Hakimi and caught his left ankle in a dangerous tackle.