PARIS (AP) – Kylian Mbappe scored a late winner as defending champion Paris Saint-Germain beat Nice 2-1 to restore its two points against Marseille in the French league on Saturday.
Mbappe scored in the 83rd minute from Nordi Mukelli’s pass to beat Kasper Schmeichel with a low strike. France striker Neymar tied as joint top scorer in the league with eight.
Lionel Messi gave PSG the lead in the 29th with a curling free kick from 22 yards into the top corner. Messi’s fifth league goal was one shy of his league tally last season as he took time to adapt to a new club and battled back and forth with Covid-19.
Gaitan Libord equalized from close range after half an hour when PSG’s defense failed to clear a cross from Youssef Atal.
“We started the second half with no energy, no rhythm, no intensity, and we let Nice have too much power,” PSG coach Christophe Gaultier said. Not playing the ball from the back like we should. Well logically equaled. So, we have to absorb more energy, more speed and more vertical.”
Messi scored twice with Argentina against Honduras and twice against Jamaica during the international break, and could have added a second on the stroke of half-hour with a powerful strike that Schmeichel tipped over the bar. .
PSG needed Messi’s talent because forward Hugo Ikitek, who made his first start of the season, proved unremarkable and didn’t make runs in behind the defense like Mbappe.
Press well up the pitch to stop PSG from creating chances. This defensive trick worked until the 27th when Messi began a dribbling run, Mario Lemina before tackling Dante, who beat the Argentine and conceded the free-kick that led to the opening goal.
Ahead of a crucial Champions League game at Benfica next week, PSG rested Mbappe and Nuno Mendes until both came off the bench in the second half.
Also, Rennes begin to gel after an uneventful start to the season, climbing to fifth place after beating 10th-placed Strasbourg 3-1.
Strasbourg defender Gerzino Niamey was sent off in the 28th for planting his foot on the thigh of Benjamin Bourregiad with his pursuit after clearing the ball. It wasn’t long before veteran striker Kevin Gameiro had a goal ruled out for offside.
Arnaud Klemwendo took advantage in the 38th by controlling a cross from Adrien Travert to fire into the bottom corner. Rance doubled the lead in the 49th with a low strike from Martin Terrier. Kilimindo set up Amin Guerreri for the third goal in the 61st.
“We’re getting our rhythm back from the end of last season,” said Terrier. “There were new signings, they needed time to settle.”
Rennes signed mobile striker Klemoindo from Paris Saint-Germain and Guerreri from Nice in the summer to replace the outgoing Gaitan Laborde, a more traditional centre-back.
Strasbourg grabbed a consolation goal in the 72nd minute from the penalty spot by Habib Diallo after Rennes right-back Hamari Torour had tripped Gameiro. They stayed in the relegation zone and were the only winning team in the league.