Kylian Mbappe scores only goal as PSG extend lead at top of Ligue 1

Kylian Mbappe hit a superb second-half winner as Paris St Germain triumphed 1-0 at St Etienne to go 12 points clear at the top of Ligue 1.

Five days on from his strike in the 2-0 Champions League last-16 first-leg victory at Manchester United, the 20-year-old France international registered his 19th league goal of the season with a delightful volley in the 73rd minute.

PSG, once again without injured pair Neymar and Edinson Cavani, had gone close to scoring six minutes earlier through Angel Di Maria, while Julian Draxler was denied by a fine Stephane Ruffier save earlier in the half.

As well as being 12 points clear of second-placed Lille, Thomas Tuchel’s men also have two games in hand. St Etienne remain fifth.

The first save of the contest was made by Alphonse Areola in the 11th minute when the PSG goalkeeper dealt with a low Kevin Monnet-Paquet strike at the near post.

As the visitors started to show some threat, Draxler turned magnificently before firing wildly into the stand, and a fierce hit from Mbappe – who it appeared should have been flagged offside – was turned behind by Ruffier.

Dani Alves was next to try his luck on the St Etienne goal, producing an effort similar in quality to Draxler’s shot, and Juan Bernat then sent the ball wide from Moussa Diaby’s cut-back.

After Monnet-Paquet had a weak shot gathered by Areola, Wahbi Khazri came to the fore in a bad-tempered conclusion to the half.

In an off-the-ball incident, Leandro Paredes – making his first PSG start – went to the turf holding his face having run past Khazri, who it appeared had put his hand on the Argentinian’s body.

The game was held up for a period before Khazri escaped without punishment – but he was then booked moments later by referee Benoit Bastien for something he said.

Ten minutes into the second half the away side carved out a good opportunity as Mbappe found Draxler and the German’s shot was well saved by Ruffier.

The ball went just wide of the PSG goal in the 62nd minute as Gabriel Silva, under pressure from substitute Colin Dagba, failed to steer it in.

The champions were then back on the front foot, with Mbappe volleying over and Di Maria curling an effort just wide.

And the deadlock was subsequently broken when Alves lofted a pass towards the box and Mbappe met it with a sweet connection that sent the ball into the top corner.

The closest St Etienne came in their search for an equaliser was Monnet-Paquet driving an attempt over the bar in the 84th minute.

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Football Paradise Staff Reporter

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