Football

Mbappe's treble puts PSG in driving seat for last 16

CHAMPS LEAGUE, GROUP A
CLUB
BRUGGE
PARIS ST GERMAIN
0 5
  (Mauro Icardi 7, 63, Kylian Mbappe
61, 79, 83)

Substitute Kylian Mbappe scored a hat-trick as Paris Saint-Germain moved a step closer to the Champions League last 16 with a 5-0 victory over previously unbeaten Club Brugge on Wednesday morning (Oct 23, Singapore time).

The World Cup winner, who has started only four games this season because of thigh and hamstring injuries, netted three times in 22 minutes to help PSG go five points clear of second-placed Real Madrid, who beat Galatasaray 1-0.

“I wanted to start and I thought I was going to start, but the coach made his choice and I had to accept it. I also wanted to show that it’s difficult to get by without me,” Mbappe told broadcaster RMC Sport.

“I have to fight to keep my place. It’s been two months since I played a full game. It feels good to come back. My injury is over. I’m at 100 per cent,” the 20-year-old added.

Mauro Icardi netted the other two goals as fellow Argentine Angel di Maria directly set up three of his side’s efforts.

For the third time in Europe this season, PSG’s Thomas Tuchel was unable to start his first-choice attacking trio of Neymar, who is suspended in Europe, Mbappe and Edinson Cavani who is injured.

Brugge coach Philippe Clement, who has guided the club to the top of the Belgian Pro League, was without captain Ruud Vormer as the Dutch midfielder served a suspension for a red card he received in the draw at Real.

The visitors claimed an early lead as di Maria received a long ball on the right flank.

The Argentina winger curled in an early cross with the outside of his left foot and Icardi beat Simon Mignolet at his near post after seven minutes.

Brugge's Champions League debutant Charles de Ketelaere had a good chance to equalise after half an hour, but the 18-year-old failed to worry Keylor Navas.

Icardi had a chance to double the Paris side’s advantage six minutes into the second half, but his effort across goal was well-saved by Mignolet.

Decisive Di Maria

Mbappe entered the fray for Maxim Choupo-Moting 60 seconds later and instantly dropped deep hungrily looking for possession.

The Ballon d’Or candidate repeated his feats from the Ligue 1 victory over Nice last Friday, when he scored and claimed an assist within the final half an hour.

Against Brugge, he claimed his first goal with 29 minutes to go, after another di Maria curling cross.

The former Monaco forward then set up Icardi for his fifth in four games less than 60 seconds later.

Mbappe’s second and third goals of the match both came from lovely di Maria passes as PSG closed out the game to mark their intentions in the competition with a clinical performance.

The two clubs meet again on Nov 6 in the French capital with Neymar expected to be sidelined with a hamstring injury picked up on international duty. – AFP

KYLIAN MBAPPEParis Saint-GermainClub Brugge