Kylian Mbappe celebrated his 25th birthday with a bang as Paris St Germain returned to winning ways in Ligue 1 with a 3-1 home win over struggling Metz.
Mbappe was a virtual passenger for long periods before slotting home his first on the hour mark, adding a second after seven minutes to secure the points.
It was a welcome response to the shock of conceding an equalizer against Lille at the weekend to maintain a five-point lead over PSG at the top of the table.
But Metz were giving them trouble and briefly threatened to get back into the game after Matthieu Udol headed in their only goal in the 72nd minute to pull one back.
PSG struggled to turn their near-constant possession into chances at the start of the opening period as Vitinha went close during a frantic spell in the visitors’ box.
Mbappe would almost certainly have won a penalty after 15 minutes when he was brought down by Metz goalkeeper Alexandre Oukidja in the box but strayed marginally offside.
Metz almost grabbed a shock lead 10 minutes later when the ever-dangerous Kevin Van Den Kerkhof crossed into the box and Danilo deflected his header onto his own crossbar.
Mbappe drilled his only chance of a frustrating first period into the Metz wall before PSG finally got on the scoresheet five minutes after half-time.
Lee Kang-in got inside and found Vitinha, whose volley from close range put the home team 1-0 up.
Mbappe could hardly have been in the game but he still seized the opportunity when it mattered, unleashing a 25-yard rocket on the hour that gave Oukidj no chance.
Just when the home side looked set to cruise to victory, Metz gave them something to think about when Udol headed home to reduce the deficit before the exuberant visitors forced a string of corners.
But PSG continued to threaten and sealed the win in the 83rd minute when Mbappe pounced on a poor back pass and lifted the ball over the Metz goalkeeper.
To cap off a memorable night for Mbappe, his 16-year-old brother Ethan made his debut from the substitutes’ bench in the final moments.
PSG Player Rating
Gianluigi Donnarumma, 6
Danilo Pereira, 7 – An authoritative performance from the Portuguese defender, who swept away some potential Metz attacks at the very start of the game to set the tone.
Milan Škriniar, 6 – An assured display, albeit with little to do. Replaced by Lucas Hernandez on the hour mark.
Warren Zaïre-Emery, 6
Manuel Ugarte, 5
Vitinha, 7 – Arguably PSG’s best player of the half-season, after Mbappé. The Portuguese midfielder is a driving force in midfield and already has five goals in the league this season.
Kang-in Lee, 6 – After a poor spell of form of late, the South Korean was able to put on a more confident display – it was his pin-point cross that allowed Vitinha to score the opener.
Bradley Barcola, 6 – The summer signing continued his impressive resurgence, bouncing back after a barrage of criticism for his misses against Newcastle last month. Consistently beat defenders down the left, although the end product was lacking – he could rarely find Mbappé in the middle.
Kylian Mbappé, 7 – After a quiet first half, the birthday boy burst into life in the second half – once he began to drift to the left more often. A sensational strike for his first, and some good anticipation to latch onto a loose pass for his second. With 18 goals in 16 appearances, the France captain is head and shoulders above the domestic competition.
Randal Kolo Muani, 4 – Started on the right wing as a result of Ousmane Dembélé’s hamstring injury, but had little impact – completed just one dribble and lost the ball 12 times. Replaced by Marco Asensio just before the hour mark.
Metz player ratings
Alexandre Oukidja, 4
Joseph N’duquidi, 4
Ismaël Traoré, 4
Christophe Hérelle, 4
Matthieu Udol, 6 – The captain did well to break free of his marker to head in the goal that gave his team a lifeline, but from a defensive standpoint there was little he could do to stop the onslaught of PSG attacks after the break.
Habib Maïga, 6
Kévin N’Doram, 5
Danley Jean-Jacques, 4
Kévin Van Den Kerkhof, 6
Joel Asoro, 4
Cheikh Sabaly, 4