Gulf Today

PSG last-gasp winner closes gap on French leaders Lille


PARIS: Defending champion Paris Saint-germain (PSG) scored in the last seconds of injury time to beat Saint-etienne 3-2 and close the gap on league leader Lille to one point on Sunday.

PSG had just gited Saint-etienne an equalizer in the second minute of injury time when Mauro Icardi rose to meet Angel Di Maria’s cross three minutes later as the substitute­s combined to give PSG a much-needed victory.

There are only five games let ater this weekend in one of the closest title races for many years. Rivals Monaco and Lyon were in action later Sunday, with Monaco going to struggling Bordeaux and Lyon visiting 19th-place Nantes.

All the goals came near the end, with Kylian Mbappe scoring twice to take his league-leading tally to 23.

He equalized with a fine finish in the 78th minute, one minute ater striker Denis Bouanga put the visitors ahead at Parc des Princes, and then struck a penalty in the 86th ater he was fouled by goalkeeper Etienne Green.

But PSG gited the visitors a goal when Bouanga was given too much space down the let and his shot was poorly dealt with by goalkeeper Sergio Rico with Romain Hamouma in position to tap in.

PSG coach Mauricio Pochetino was without several key players. Neymar and central midfielder­s Leandro Paredes and Idrissa Gueye were suspended.

Central defender Marquinhos is recovering from an adductor injury and standout goalkeeper Keylor Navas rested a sore shoulder. Pochetino’s side struggled to create chances but winger Pablo Sarabia struck the post with a freekick ater 30 minutes and Green - a former club ball boy - made his first save five minutes later from Rafinha’s low shot.

In between, Saint-etienne winger Wahbi Khazri had a goal ruled out for offisde.

Pochetino made a triple substituti­on midway through the second half, bringing on midfielder Marco Verrati, winger Di Maria and Icardi.

Di Maria failed to close down on the let and overlappin­g full back Miguel Trauco had plenty of time to pick out Bouanga’s close-range finish. But Saint-etienne was napping at the restart.

Verrati’s long ball over the top was expertly controlled by Mbappe with the outside his foot and he slid it under Green for 1-1. Pochetino’s first game in charge of PSG also against SaintEtien­ne in January ended in a draw and he was somewhat fortunate this time.

Lille dropped points when it was held 1-1 at home to Montpellie­r on Friday.

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