- Associated Press - Sunday, March 21, 2021

PARIS (AP) - Kylian Mbappe scored twice as Paris Saint-Germain won 4-2 at title rival Lyon on Sunday to move top of the French league on goal difference.

Second-place Lille lost 2-1 at home to Nimes.

PSG took control with first-half goals from Mbappe and midfielder Danilo against a surprisingly lackluster Lyon, which won 1-0 in Paris earlier this season.

Winger Angel Di Maria scored early in the second half with a free kick which Lyon failed to clear, and the ball bounced just in front of goalkeeper Anthony Lopes before going in.

Neymar returned after five weeks out with a left adductor injury, replacing Mbappe for the last 20 minutes after he notched his 100th goal in the French league.



“We came here to win, we knew Lyon often cause problems for us,” Mbappe said. “They are a good side.”

There are eight games left in the closest title race for many years, with Lille visiting PSG on April 3 following the international break and fourth-place Monaco lurking just one point behind third-place Lyon.

Monaco has beaten PSG twice this season,

Mbappe, who won the title with Monaco in 2017, fired a shot through the legs of Lopes in the 14th minute and Danilo struck a sweet half-volley into the bottom left in the 31st.

Soon after Di Maria’s free kick from the right eluded everyone, midfielder Marco Verratti’s pass sent Mbappe through on goal and he finished confidently in the 51st.

Substitute Islam Slimani pulled one back for Lyon 10 minutes later with a fine strike from the edge of the area, and winger Maxwel Cornet made it 4-2 in the 80th as PSG backed off too much.

Earlier, Lille paid the price for poor defending.

“We didn’t play well. There are no excuses, we just weren’t in the game,” Lille captain Jose Fonte told broadcaster Canal Plus. “It’s not about pressure, that’s the same for everyone, it’s more about attitude … When you don’t defend as a team things become difficult.”

In 30 games Lille has only conceded 19 goals - two fewer than PSG . But it was sloppy this time. Coach Christophe Galtier warned his players not to take struggling Nimes lightly, but they could not prevent a third defeat of the season.

The visitors took an 11th-minute lead through striker Moussa Kone’s powerful shot into the top corner after Lille lost the ball on the edge of the penalty area.

Midfielder Xeka equalized with a downward header from a corner in the 20th.

Galtier’s fears resurfaced when striker Renaud Ripart made a great run behind the defense and deftly flicked the ball past goalkeeper Mike Maignan on halftime.

EUROPE IN MIND

Lens moved three points clear in fifth place and a Europa League spot after winning 2-1 at Strasbourg.

Midfielder Massadio Haidara put the visitors ahead in the fourth minute, and playmaker Seko Fofana restored the lead shortly before halftime after midfielder Jean-Ricner Bellegarde equalized.

OTHER MATCHES

Nantes followed up its unexpected win at PSG last weekend by drawing 1-1 at home to Lorient in their relegation fight.

After scoring against PSG, striker Randal Kolo Muani put Nantes ahead in the first minute but forward Armand Lauriente equalized near the end with a stunning 40-meter free kick into the top right corner.

Lorient is 17th, Nimes 18th and Nantes 19th.

South Korea striker Hwang Ui-jo’s early goal turned out to be Bordeaux’s consolation in a 3-1 defeat at eighth-place Montpellier.

Last-place Dijon lost 1-0 at home to Reims and is 13 points behind Nantes, while Brest drew 0-0 with midtable Angers.

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More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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