Mbappe scores winner for PSG as Monaco continues to struggle
PARIS (AP) — Two days after celebrating his 20th birthday, Kylian Mbappe grabbed Paris Saint-Germain’s winner against Nantes in a scrappy 1-0 home result on Saturday.
With PSG heading toward a third straight French league draw, Mbappe slid in at the back post to stab home Angel Di Maria’s corner from the right in the 68th minute.
It took France’s World Cup star to the top of the league scoring charts with 13, and ensured PSG heads into the winter break unbeaten in domestic competitions.
PSG is 13 points ahead of second-placed Lille, which lost at home to Toulouse 2-1 and has played two games more than PSG.
Third-placed Lyon closed the gap on Lille to two points as forward Nabil Fekir netted for the third straight game in a 1-1 draw at fourth-place Montpellier. Lyon has a game in hand on Lille, and Montpellier has one in hand on Lyon after previous weekends saw a spate of postponements due to widespread anti-government protests around the country.
Saint-Etienne was the big winner on the night, moving level on points with Montpellier after a comfortable 3-0 home win against Dijon. Saint-Etienne’s front line worked well, with Kevin Monnet-Paquet, Wahbi Khazri and Robert Beric all scoring.
At the other end of the table, the pressure was mounting on beleaguered Monaco coach Thierry Henry after losing at home to last-placed Guingamp 2-0. Since taking charge in October, Henry has won only three out of 14 matches overall.
Monaco was in 19th place and only two points ahead of Guingamp, which scored in the second half through forwards Marcus Thuram and Nolan Roux.
Thuram is the son of France great Lilian Thuram, Henry’s teammate when France won the 1998 World Cup and the European Championship two years later.
After Lille’s 19-year-old Portuguese striker Rafael Leao made it 1-0, Ivory Coast forward Max-Alain Gradel replied with two penalties for Toulouse.
It took Gradel to eight league goals in 19 games, as many as he managed for Toulouse in 29 matches last season.
Marseille has gone six games without a win in all competitions after drawing at Angers 1-1. With six minutes left, defender Bouna Sarr started and finished a move to earn a point for Marseille.
Strasbourg midfielder Adrien Thomasson and center half Lamine Kone scored in a 2-0 home win against mid-table Nice.
Rennes secured a fifth straight win under new coach Julien Stephan, 4-0 at home against Nimes.
Lowly Normandy side Caen got a valuable point in drawing at Reims 2-2.
In Sunday’s only game, forward Jimmy Briand is set for his 400th league appearance when Bordeaux faces Amiens.