French Ligue 1 : Kylian Mbappe returns and PSG hits top gear to defeat Nice 3-0

France forward Kylian Mbappe marked his return to action with a vintage performance and a goal as champion Paris Saint Germain rediscovered its form with an impressive 3-0 win at Nice in Ligue 1 on Sunday.

Mbappe, who missed the opening three games after contracting the coronavirus, fired PSG ahead with a 38th-minute penalty and had a big part in Angel Di Maria’s strike before Marquinhos headed home the third in the second half.

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“I was just happy to put the jersey back on because here in Paris when you miss a game, it’s like you’ve missed 10,” Mbappe told Canal Plus television.

“I spent the last few days watching television and I couldn’t wait to come back. It was nice to score but we are still going through a complicated period and it’s not easy to live with. It was a stylish victory and getting back to winning ways is perfect.”

PSG made a sluggish start to its campaign as it lost the opening two matches and eked out a last-gasp 1-0 home win over Metz on Wednesday but it tore Nice apart with sublime skill and crisp one-touch passing.

Mbappe blasted his spot-kick into the roof of the net after he was fouled by Khephren Thuram and Nice goalkeeper Waller Benitez could only parry the forward’s crisp low shot for Di Maria to sweep home the rebound on the stroke of halftime.

The visitor missed a string of chances in the second half with striker Mauro Icardi hitting the post, before Marquinhos added the third with a glancing header from a Di Maria cross.

Ander Herrera also hit the woodwork with a deflected shot in the first half while the home side was denied by acrobatic goalkeeping from Keylor Navas.

The result lifted PSG to seventh place on six points from four games, with Nice slipping to 10th also on six points.

In Sunday’s other stand-out fixtures, second-placed St Etienne, who have a maximum nine points from three games, visit 14th-placed Nantes and Olympique Marseille in eighth are at home to fourth-placed Lille.

 
French Ligue 1 Latest Points Table 
 
Pos Team P W D L F A +/- PTS Form
1 Rennes Rennes 4 3 1 0 9 5 +4 10 W W W D 
2 Saint-Étienne Saint-Étienne 3 3 0 0 6 0 +6 9 W W W  
3 Montpellier Montpellier 4 3 0 1 10 5 +5 9 W W W L 
4 Lens Lens 4 3 0 1 7 5 +2 9 W W W L 
5 Monaco Monaco 4 2 1 1 6 5 +1 7 L W W D 
6 Lille Lille 3 2 1 0 3 1 +2 7 W W D  
7 PSG PSG 4 2 0 2 4 2 +2 6 W W L L 
8 Olympique Marseille Marseille 3 2 0 1 4 4 0 6 L W W