Rediff.com  » Sports » Football Extras: Mbappe helps PSG extend lead

Football Extras: Mbappe helps PSG extend lead

Last updated on: February 18, 2019 16:16 IST

News of all that's transpired on and off the football field

Paris St Germain's Kylian Mbappe (right) celebrates scoring their first goal against AS Saint-Etienne at Stade Geoffroy-Guichard in Saint-Etienne in France on Sunday

IMAGE: Paris St Germain's Kylian Mbappe (right) celebrates scoring their first goal against AS Saint-Etienne at Stade Geoffroy-Guichard in Saint-Etienne in France on Sunday. Photograph: Emmanuel Foudrot/Reuters

Kylian Mbappe's second-half strike earned Paris St Germain a 1-0 win at St Etienne as the French champions continued their inevitable march towards the Ligue 1 title on Sunday.

France striker Mbappe, who had not scored in his two previous league outings, found the back of the net in the 73rd minute to put Thomas Tuchel's side on 62 points from 23 games.

The result extended PSG's lead to 12 points after second-placed Lille, who have played two more games, were held goalless at home by Montpellier earlier on Sunday.

St Etienne are fifth on 40 points.

Five days after beating Manchester United 2-0 at Old Trafford in their Champions League last-16 first leg, the capital side enjoyed more possession but proved toothless in the first half, managing only one shot on target to St Etienne's two.

They were without the injured Neymar and Edinson Cavani while influential midfielder Marco Verratti was rested by Tuchel.

In his absence, Juan Bernat and Leandro Paredes produced a solid performance in midfield as Marquinhos slipped back down in a three-man defence.

PSG had their first clear chance 10 minutes into the second half when Julian Draxler forced Stephane Ruffier to a superb save after being set up by Angel Di Maria.

The hosts were dangerous, however, with the lively Kevin Monnet Paquet a constant threat up front.

But PSG gained the upper hand when Mbappe was slipped through by Daniel Alves and beat Ruffier from close range to net his 19th goal in 18 appearances in Ligue 1 this season.

He becomes the first French player in 45 years to reach that tally after 18 appearances in a season in the French top flight.

Mourinho open to working in France

'I like to learn all the time, to work in a different league would be a fantastic experience'

IMAGE: 'I like to learn all the time, to work in a different league would be a fantastic experience'. Photograph: Jason Cairnduff/Reuters

Jose Mourinho said he could see himself coaching in France as he attended the 0-0 draw between Lille and Montpellier to reportedly cast an eye over Ivorian star Nicolas Pepe.

Mourinho was sacked by Manchester United in December.

The Portuguese is currently a football pundit with beIN Sports. The 56-year-old was pictured sitting alongside Lille sporting advisor Luis Campos at the Stade Pierre-Mauroy on Sunday.

"I can imagine (coaching) in France one day," Mourinho said.

"I'm a man who's worked in four different countries, who likes that, who likes to know other cultures."

"I like to learn all the time, to work in a different league would be a fantastic experience. (At the moment) I'm calm, I'm trying to enjoy life with family and friends and calmly working to hopefully find another opportunity in football."

Sunil Chhetri receives Football Ratna award

Star Indian striker Sunil Chhetri was awarded the first-ever Football Ratna by Football Delhi, the State Association governing the sport in the national capital. Delhi Football president Shaji Prabhakaran presented the honour at a function which was held at the Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium.

Chhetri, who was recently named as the 6th Indian Footballer in the elite Padma Shri list expressed delight after receiving the award.

“I am honoured by the kind gesture of Football Delhi for recognising me with the Football Ratna award, AIFF quoted Chhetri, as saying.

“My support will always be there for the development of football in Delhi. I am sure the current management is working hard to develop football and make Delhi a model football state in India. My best wishes to everyone associated with the sport in Delhi,” he added.

Football Delhi also recognised Shubham Sarangi, youth player from Delhi who is currently playing for the ISL franchise Delhi Dynamos FC.

Shubham was part of AIFFYouthAcademy for 12 years and has represented India in U-14 and U-17 National Teams.

Wolves and Palace ease into FA Cup quarter-finals

Wolverhampton Wanderers' impressive season continued as they moved into the quarter-finals of the FA Cup with Ivan Cavaleiro's first-half goal sealing a 1-0 victory at Championship (second-tier) club Bristol City on Sunday.

Portuguese Cavaleiro slotted home clinically in the 28th minute after great work by Matt Doherty and it was enough for Wolves to reach the last eight for the first time since 2003.

After a mass exodus of Premier League clubs in the previous two rounds, Wolves continued a good weekend for the big boys which saw ManchesterCity, Brighton & Hove Albion, Watford and CrystalPalace all send lower-league opposition packing.

Palace were far too good on Sunday for third-tier Doncaster Rovers, with first-half goals by Jeffrey Schlupp and Max Meyer securing a 2-0 win to send Roy Hodgson's side into the last eight for only the second time in 24 years.

Schlupp ran through to fire home in the eighth minute and Meyer's effort on the stroke of halftime deflated the hosts who had hoped for a first-ever run to the last eight.

In the day's other fifth-round tie, SwanseaCity recovered from a halftime deficit at home to fellow Championship outfit Brentford to win 4-1 at the Liberty Stadium.

Bersant Celina's free kick rebounded off the post and in off keeper Luke Daniel to level it up before a wonderful solo goal by Daniel James put the Welsh club ahead.

With Brentford down to 10 men after a red card for Ezri Konsa, Celina made it 3-1 and George Byers added a late fourth goal to seal a second successive quarter-final appearance for the Swans.

Comfortably placed in the Premier League and with Liverpool's scalp in the FA Cup already, Wolves have emerged as dark horses to go all the way this season.

In the first half at BristolCity they certainly had the look of a side who fancy their chances.

Doherty was a constant menace for the Bristol defence and he was unlucky not to score when his shot hit the woodwork after a flowing move down the right.

It was his trickery that opened up the home defence again before his cut back picked out Cavaleiro to fire home.

The second half was a different story as City, sixth in the second tier, improved dramatically and forced Wolves keeper John Ruddy into several sharp saves.

Substitute Matty Taylor was twice denied and in stoppage time, with City throwing the kitchen sink at Wolves, Ruddy reacted well to stop opposite number Frank Fielding equalising after he had gone up for a corner.

"I'm very happy, it was very tough, but I'm happy for fans and it was a moment of joy," said Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo, who has guided his team to seventh on their top-flight return.

"In the first half they gave us space but then they changed it and they are a tough team."

Only seven of the 16 teams to reach the fifth round were from the Premier League but with Chelsea hosting Manchester United on Monday in a repeat of last season's final, six of the teams in the last eight will be from the top flight.

Napoli held again in latest Serie A stalemate

Napoli drew 0-0 with Torino on Sunday, their third goalless draw in four Serie A games, allowing Juventus to take a 13-point lead at the top of the table.

Carlo Ancelotti’s side were held to stalemates by AC Milan and Fiorentina in their last two away games and failed to find the net once again at the Stadio San Paolo.

Arkadiusz Milik came close on several occasions and Lorenzo Insigne curled a shot off the post but Torino held firm to frustrate their hosts.

In the first half, Milik poked a finish wide from inside the six-yard box after meeting Fabian Ruiz’s cross, while Insigne had the best chance after the interval but his shot came off the upright.

Napoli midfielder Allan was shown a second yellow card in stoppage time, before the decision was overturned for mistaken identity following a Video Assistant Referee (VAR) review, with Kevin Malcuit picking up the booking instead.

“We lacked a goal, just as we did against Fiorentina,” Ancelotti told Italian broadcasters.

“We played with focus, motivation, determination, but it’s unacceptable to have 18 scoring opportunities over two games and not score any of them.

“Evidently we need to work in training on the finishing, crosses, movements, decision-making. I defy anyone to say this team doesn’t play good football but we are not turning the chances into goals.

“We’re in a very strong position, the team proves with its performances that the team is very determined, concentrated and has a precise identity; you might not think that just looking at the results but it’s true.

“It is our own fault and the devil is in the detail; we need a more precise cross, more accurate finish, better run. It’s not just the strikers, as the crosses and final ball also need work. We all need to work on it, there’s no point focusing only on the forwards.”

The result leaves Napoli in second place on 53 points, while Torino occupy ninth with 35 points.

Earlier on Sunday, Inter Milan defeated Sampdoria 2-1 at San Siro to consolidate their grip on third place, while Domenico Criscito’s 93rd-minute winner gave Genoa a 2-1 victory over Champions League hopefuls Lazio.

There were also wins for Udinese and Empoli over Chievo and Sassuolo respectively and in the lunchtime kick-off Fiorentina won 4-1 away to SPAL.

Milicic named interim Australia women's coach

Football Federation Australia (FFA) said on Monday Ante Milicic has been appointed to take charge of the national women's side through this year's World Cup following the sacking of former coach Alen Stajcic.

Milicic, an assistant coach for the men's team at last two World Cups, will oversee his first three matches with the 'Matildas' in coming weeks when Australia meet New Zealand, South Korea and Argentina at the inaugural Cup of Nations on home soil.

"It is an honour to be appointed Head Coach of the Westfield Matildas and I am determined to make the most of this opportunity together with the squad and staff,” the 44-year-old said in an FFA media release.

"Australia has many fantastic players right now and I know that the squad that is ultimately selected will be eager to seize its chance in France.

"With three matches coming up in quick succession at the Cup of Nations, the friendly tournament will provide our group with the opportunity to set its standards both on and off the pitch as we look ahead to the FIFA Women’s World Cup with great belief and optimism."

The FFA moved to sack Stajcic a month ago, blaming the former boss for the development of "cultural" problems around the squad in the wake of a confidential survey of national players.

Stajcic has called for an independent inquiry into his termination by the FFA.

Physio and six teenagers step in for Italian side but lose 20-0

It was a case of all their nightmares coming true at once for hapless Italian side Pro Piacenza as not only were they forced to play with seven players on Sunday but they were also thrashed 20-0 by Serie C rivals Cuneo.

The club’s first team squad and coaching staff refused to travel for the game due to unpaid wages, leaving the financially troubled team to start the match with six teenagers and a 39-year-old physio -- the minimum number required for a game to go ahead.

Pro Piacenza were forced to play the game as they have already forfeited three league games this season and a fourth would have resulted in expulsion from the third tier.

They were 16-0 down by halftime -- with Cuneo's Hicham Kanis scoring six times and Edoardo Defendi netting five, before conceding a further four goals after the interval.

The Piacenza players who did take to the field included 19-year-old captain Nicola Cirigliano, who was also registered as the team's coach for the day.

The physio, who had his number taped to his back, was forced into action to ensure that at least seven players were on the field from Piacenza as one of the original seven teenagers selected to play had forgotten his identity papers.

Piacenza's numbers on the pitch were briefly bolstered to eight as the missing documentation was sent to the venue but it was not long before they were again down to seven players as the physio limped off injured.

Cuneo captain Fabiano Santacroce, who used to play for Napoli and Parma, was not amused with the events that took place on Sunday.

"Today was a mockery of a match. There were kids, staff members... maybe a physio. This is the result," the defender told RMC Sport.

"As captain, before the match, I spoke with the guys and said to them not to mock the opposition. But they made us play in a game in these conditions and we played it, simply doing what we had to.

"To be honest after half an hour I didn't feel like taking part any more, it was a massacre."

Pro Piacenza were sold for a nominal one euro fee last year and are struggling with severe financial difficulties. They have picked up just eight points all season and sit rooted to the bottom of Serie C/A having started the campaign with an eight-point deduction.

AGENCIES
SHARE THIS STORYCOMMENT