PARIS (AP) — Paris Saint-Germain’s stars reached their final game before the World Cup, France forward Kylian Mbappe in the unbeaten league leaders’ 5-0 home win over Auxerre on Sunday. Started the goal.
Argentina star Lionel Messi, Brazil’s Neymar and Mbappe all started against Auxerre as PSG maintained their five-point lead over second-placed Lens.
Messi and Neymar had about 15 minutes remaining but Mbappe played the full game despite ending last weekend with muscle fatigue. Mbappe joins up with defending champions France on Monday before flying to Qatar on Wednesday.
PSG rested Brazilian defender Marquinhos due to some muscle strain.
PSG’s players did not hold back against Auxerre despite late injury fears, as the opening goal came after 10 minutes.
Messi picked up a clever pass in defense for Portugal defender Nuno Mendes to break down the left, and his pass was deflected by Mbappe for his league-leading 12th goal.
The goal was awarded after video review after Neymar handled the ball moments before in Auxerre’s penalty area.
PSG’s defense was caught off guard when M’Baye Niang took advantage of a long ball and hit a powerful shot that goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma did well to parry.
Neymar went down in the 30th minute after a tough challenge, but returned to continue the game.
World Cup-bound Mendes broke free again from the left and his cross was expertly converted by forward Carlos Soler in the 51st. Soon after, Achraf Hakimi made it 3-0.
Hakimi, one of the key players in Morocco’s World Cup squad, latched on to Soler’s pass and beat goalkeeper Benoit Costel with a clean-footed shot from halfway.
Soler, who is in Spain’s World Cup squad, was substituted an hour later. Messi hit the post shortly after with a curling shot.
Central defender Prisnel Kempe, who has only played an hour of football since suffering a hamstring injury on September 18, was on the bench and came on for the final 15 minutes.
Kempe, who helped Les Bleus win the 2018 World Cup, is in France’s injured squad.
Attacking midfielder Renato Sanchez added a fourth goal with an angled shot from the right that hit the left post. Hugo Ikitek made it 5-0.
Later on Sunday, fourth-placed Marseille visit fifth-placed Monaco with the sides level on points.