Kylian Mbappe’s double helped Paris Saint-Germain take another step towards retaining their Ligue 1 title, thrashing Ajaccio 5-0 as Lionel Messi returned from his club-issued suspension.
Messi was jeered by some home fans during his first appearance since an unauthorized trip to Saudi Arabia, but Mbappe was determined to focus on the second half.
Fabian Ruiz and Achraf Hakimi had earlier given PSG a half-time lead and Ajaccio’s Mohamed Youssouf later netted an own net as the visitors’ relegation to Ligue 2 was confirmed.
Both teams finished with 10 men as Hakimi and Thomas Mangani were sent off for exchanging blows, but it was not enough to dampen PSG’s spirits as they restored their six-point cushion on second-placed Lens.
Fabian’s second goal in as many games broke the deadlock in the 22nd minute when the Spaniard raced into space and finished well with the outside of his left foot.
Hakimi doubled PSG’s lead early on when he tapped in the rebound as Francois-Joseph Sollacaro parried Mbappe’s shot, with the referee deciding not to penalize Mbappe for handball following a VAR review on the pitch.
Mbappe got on the scoresheet 90 seconds into the second half, his shot curling under Sollacar after a goal scramble.
If Mbappe’s first goal was fortuitous, his second – which came seven minutes later – was stunning, firing a ferocious volley into the top left corner after Cedric Avinel failed to clear a long ball.
Mbappe was involved again as PSG scored their fifth goal with 17 minutes remaining. His rabona cross was cleared to Marquinhos, whose low effort found Youssouf and found the bottom right corner.
Tempers flared late on when Hakimi and Mangani saw red for throwing punches in the middle of a scuffle, but it was the same fight as Ajaccio showed in a disheartening outing.
Paris Saint-Germain player ratings (3-4-3)
GK: Gianluigi Donnarumma – 6/10 – Largely a spectator with very little to do.
CB: Marquinhos – 7/10 – Not afraid to burst forward with PSG dominating possession. Cross across the box was deflected in for PSG’s fifth.
CB: Sergio Ramos – 7/10 – Showed his full passing range, with one ambitious ball resulting in Mbappe’s crushing volley. Not overly stretched in defence.
CB: Danilo Pereira – 7/10 – Kept possession ticking around defence and midfield and recovered the ball eight times in total.
RWB: Achraf Hakimi – 6/10 – Was alive to the loose ball to grab PSG’s second. His dangerous crosses lead to goals and other scoring opportunities for his side’s attackers. Sent off for his part in a wildly unnecessary scuffle.
CN: Marco Verratti – 6/10 – Made some trademark defensive challenges, though was dribbled past on occasion.
CM: Fabian Ruiz – 7/10 – Inventive finish opened the floodgates for PSG. A sharp defensive presence in midfield on occasion.
LWB: Juan Bernat – 6/10 – Had plenty of freedom on the left and linked up with Ruiz nicely.
RW: Lionel Messi – 8/10 – The boos will dominate but Messi largely did his thing, creating chances with some incisive passing and dribbling.
ST: Hugo Ekitike – 7/10 – Had the presence of mind to tee up Mbappe during a goal-mouth scramble.
LW: Kylian Mbappe – 9/10 – Had enough power on his first shot to beat Sollacaro but his second was pure brilliance, lashing past the visiting goalie with such venom and force.
Renato Sanches (64′ for Ruiz) – 6/10
Vitinha (64′ for Verratti) – 7/10
El Chadaille Bitshiabu (70′ for Pereira) – 6/10
Carlos Soler (83′ for Ekitike) – N/A
Warren Zaire-Emery (83′ for Bernat) – N/A
Christophe Galtier – 7/10 – PSG would have been slaughtered had they done anything but beat Ajaccio. The gap in quality was so marked that individual moments were enough for victory.
Ajaccio player ratings (4-3-3)
GK: Francois-Joseph Sollacaro (4); RB: Mohamed Youssouf (4), CB: Cedric Avinel (5), CB: Clement Vidal (5), LB: Ismael Diallo (4); CM: Vincent Marchetti (6), CM: Thomas Mangani (5), CM: Mathieu Coutadeur (6); RW: Mickael Barreto (6), ST: Mounaim El Idrissy (6), LW: Kevin Spadanuda (6)
Substitutes: Moussa Soumano (6), Ivane Chegra (6), Ryad Nouri (6), Mickael Alphonse (6), Florian Chabrolle (N/A)