PSG closes in on 10th French title with Marseille victory

PARIS – Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) continued their march towards a record-equaling 10th French title when goals by Neymar and Kylian Mbappé earned them a 2-1 home victory against bitter rivals Olympique de Marseille on Sunday.

Neymar’s early opener for PSG was canceled out by Duje Caleta Car before Mbappé’s penalty sealed the win and put PSG on 74 points.

They now lead second-placed Marseille, who had a late equalizer disallowed, by 15 points with six games left and could be crowned champions next weekend.

Jorge Sampaoli’s side, who were on an eight-game winning streak in all competitions, have a three-point lead over third-placed Stade Rennais as both teams battle it out for second and direct qualification for the Champions League group stage. The team in third will enter the competition in the third qualifying round.

PSG got off to a lively start and it did not take long for Mauricio Pochettino’s men to take the lead in front of an almost silent crowd as the club’s normally noisy Ultras, or hardcore fans, signaled their frustration again after last month’s elimination from the Champions League.

“I was not expecting this kind of atmosphere. For a classic, you have to put everything aside, ”said Captain Marquinhos.

“It was not the moment to do this. We understand them but today was a day to put your pride aside. ”

Neymar put PSG ahead after 12 minutes when, latching onto a cross from Marco Verratti, he lobbed goalkeeper Pau Lopez from the penalty spot.

Marseille stayed compact and leveled on 31 minutes as Caleta Car tapped in from a packed goalmouth after Gianluigi Donnarumma missed the ball from a corner.

PSG piled on the pressure but was repeatedly caught by the offside trap, with Lionel Messi denied a goal.

They were, however, rewarded for their domination on the stroke of halftime when they were awarded a penalty after a VAR review showed that the ball had hit Valentin Rongier’s elbow on the edge of the area.

Mbappe buried the spot kick five minutes into stoppage time for his 21st goal of the Ligue 1 season.

Tempers flared after the break and Neymar vehemently protested after picking up a yellow card for a foul on Matteo Guendouzi and needed a couple of minutes to cool down.

PSG had another goal disallowed in the 75th minute when Mbappé was ruled offside after being set up by Messi.

Marseille celebrated what they thought was an equalizer five minutes from full time, only for William Saliba’s goal to be ruled out for yet another offside.

Earlier, Nice climbed up one spot to fourth, two points behind Rennes, after Andy Delort’s double gave them a 2-1 home win against Lorient.

Olympique Lyonnais bounced back from their elimination in the quarterfinals of the Europa League against West Ham United by demolishing second-from-bottom Girondins de Bordeaux 6-1 at the Groupama Stadium with doubles by Moussa Dembele and Karl Toko Ekambi.

Lyon is eighth on 49 points, seven behind Rennes. – Reuters

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