PSG beats Metz 5-0 to maintain huge lead in French league
PARIS (AP) — After again falling short in the Champions League, Paris Saint-Germain got back into the routine of dominating the French league by crushing last-place Metz 5-0 on Saturday.
The win maintained PSG’s 14-point lead over second-place Monaco with only nine games left, and kept it on course for a fifth title in six seasons.
But beating a feeble Metz side will do precious little to take the pressure off beleaguered coach Unai Emery, who is expected to leave at the end of the season after PSG went out in the last 16 of the Champions League for the second straight season.
PSG lost at home to Real Madrid 2-1 on Tuesday for a 5-2 aggregate defeat, and Emery was jeered by sections of the Parc des Princes crowd on Saturday.
“It allows us to turn the page on Tuesday,” Emery said somewhat hopefully. “We needed to win after going out. We’re continuing on our path.”
With top scorer Edinson Cavani suspended and world-record signing Neymar recovering from surgery on his right foot, there were some unfamiliar scorers against Metz.
Attacking midfielder Christopher Nkunku scored twice after right back Thomas Meunier gave the home side an early lead, and striker Kylian Mbappe made it 4-0 in first-half injury time.
“It’s important to give the young players some games,” Emery said. ”(Nkunku) is working hard in training. He needs to improve by playing more games. We’re happy with him.”
Japan goalkeeper Eiji Kawashima kept the score down with some fine saves in the second half, including from Liberia President George Weah’s son, Timothy Weah.
Kawashima denied the 18-year-old Weah again two minutes from time, diving at his feet.
Captain Thiago Silva headed in the fifth goal from a corner near the end.
Defending champion Monaco won at Strasbourg 3-1 on Friday to maintain its grip on second place. Monaco is seven points ahead of third-place Marseille, which is away to struggling Toulouse on Sunday.
SALA’S LATE SALVO
Center forward Emiliano Sala scored with a thumping header with four minutes left as Nantes beat struggling Troyes 1-0 at home.
The win moved coach Claudio Ranieri’s Nantes up to fifth place, while Sala’s 12th league goal equaled his tally for Nantes last season with nine games left.
Nantes is one point above Rennes, which also needed an 86th-minute goal from striker Ismaila Sarr to draw 1-1 with an improving Saint-Etienne side unbeaten in seven games and rising.
Montpellier was held at 19th-place Lille to 1-1.
Striker Nicolas Pepe scored his ninth goal of the season for Lille, but was nonetheless targeted by angry Lille fans who invaded the pitch at the final whistle. It took stewards several minutes to regain control before arouond 200 irate Lille fans returned to the stands having confronted players near the center circle.
Also, Bordeaux drew with Angers 0-0 and mid-table Dijon was held at home by Amiens to 1-1.
In Sunday’s other games, fourth-place Lyon hosts Caen, and Nice is at Guingamp.