Tue, Apr 23, 2019 - Page 16 News List

Neymar returns as Mbappe flattens Monaco in title run

AFP, PARIS

AS Monaco defender Benoit Badiashile, left, vies with Paris Saint-Germain forward Kylian Mbappe in their Ligue 1 match at Parc des Princes in Paris on Sunday.

Photo: AFP

Neymar on Sunday joined the Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) title party when he made his first appearance since January, as Kylian Mbappe swept aside AS Monaco with a hat-trick in a 3-1 win for the newly crowned Ligue 1 champions.

Mbappe took his league tally for the season to 30 following his treble, which came just hours after PSG were crowned champions for the sixth time in seven years when closest challengers Lille OSC dropped points.

Neymar’s return at the start of the second half, replacing Layvin Kurzawa, was the cherry on the cake for Thomas Tuchel’s side, who had been without the Brazilian superstar since Jan. 23 due to a right foot injury.

Edinson Cavani also returned to action in the second half — with a late strike correctly ruled out for offside — meaning that PSG’s famed front three are back together.

Mbappe has thrived in the absence of his strike partners, and gave his side a 2-0 first-half lead with two neat finishes — the first coming in the 15th minute and the second seven minutes before the break, after a beautiful pass from Dani Alves.

The World Cup winner then put the three points beyond doubt when he tapped in Alves’ low cross nine minutes after the break.

Aleksandr Golovin rolled home a consolation for the away side, who remain in trouble in 16th place and are only four points away from the relegation playoff spot.

Lille ended their challenge with a goalless draw at Toulouse that left them 16 points behind PSG with only five games to play and allowed the Parisian club to celebrate the title after missing chances to seal it in their previous matches.

The Parisians have struggled with key injuries in recent weeks and they lost Italy international midfielder Marco Verratti with what looks like a knock to his left ankle.

PSG took the field wearing a shirt with a large image of Notre Dame replacing the usual sponsor’s logo. “Notre-Dame” replaced the player names on the back of the shirts.

The club said that they would put a limited edition of the shirts for sale online during the match and donate the proceeds to firefighters.

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