Neymar, Mbappe score as leader PSG wins 4-1 at Rennes
PARIS (AP) The world’s two most expensive soccer stars both scored as Paris Saint-Germain restored its nine-point lead in the French league with a 4-1 win at Rennes on Saturday.
Brazil forward Neymar scored twice and turned provider for Kylian Mbappe and striker Edinson Cavani, while Mbappe set up both of Neymar’s goals.
Neymar put PSG ahead in the fourth minute, turning in Mbappe’s cross from the right. Roles were reversed when teenage star Mbappe then netted from Neymar’s cross in the 17th.
Neymar and Mbappe joined in the summer transfer window, with PSG paying Barcelona a world record 222 million euros ($262 million). Mbappe, who turns 19 next Wednesday, joined from defending champion Monaco in a deal worth 180 million euros ($216 million).
Rennes pulled a goal back early in the second half through striker Firmin Mubele, but then had influential midfielder Benjamin Andre sent off in the 63rd minute for a second yellow card following a late challenge on center back Presnel Kimpembe, who was also sent off late on.
Andre’s red card prompted an angry reaction from Rennes coach Sabri Lamouchi, who argued with referee Antony Gautier.
PSG profited from the extra man to make it 3-1 when Cavani ran onto Neymar’s pass to brilliantly flick the ball over goalkeeper Tomas Koubek in the 75th for his league-leading 18th goal of the season. A minute later Cavani released Mbappe down the right, he crossed quickly, and Neymar slid in at the back post to grab his 11th of the season.
PSG was ruthless in attack but its poor defending – which had also been seen in a recent 2-1 loss at Strasbourg – let Rennes back into the game in the 53rd.
From a corner, midfielder Morgan Amalfitano was left unmarked and his header hit the front post. The ball rolled across the goal and presented Mubele with a tap-in.
Kimpembe was sent off in the 89th. He was beaten by a pass played behind him and clumsily chopped down midfielder James Lea Siliki. But winger Wahbi Khazri blazed the penalty over the top.
Second-place Monaco won 4-0 at Saint-Etienne on Friday night.
Despite having one of the smallest budgets in Ligue 1, Strasbourg is up to seventh place after beating Toulouse 2-1 at home.
Midfielder Jonas Martin and center half Kader Mangane scored either side of an equalizer from winger Max-Alain Gradel.
Striker Wesley Said netted twice as Dijon climbed up to eighth place by beating 18th-place Lille 3-0, with all the goals in the first half.
Mid-table Caen and Guingamp drew 0-0. Troyes moved further away from the relegation zone with a 1-0 home win against Amiens.
Last-place Metz secured a rare success by winning 3-1 at Montpellier.
Third-place Lyon plays at fourth-place Marseille on Sunday night, with both sides three points behind Monaco.
Also, fifth-place Nantes takes on Angers, and Nice hosts Bordeaux.