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Player ratings as French champions stroll to victory

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Player ratings as French champions stroll to victory

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Paris Saint-Germain moved to the top of the Ligue 1 table with a 3-0 win at home to Montpellier on Friday night.

The reigning champions will be overtaken again by early pace-setters OGC Nice if they beat Rennes on Sunday.

But Luis Enrique’s side have returned to the summit for the time being following a stylish victory at Parc des Princes.

How the game unfolded

Montpellier went close to taking a first-minute lead when Achraf Hakimi and Marquinhos were caught by a long ball over the top and the Teji Savanier let fly at the far post following a cross, but Nordi Mukiele made a brilliant recovery challenge to deny him.

The hosts continued to play a dangerously high line early doors, but PSG took the lead after ten minutes regardless. Hakimi’s low cross was dummied by Kylian Mbappe into the path of Lee Kang-in, who steadied himself and picked out the top corner from the edge of the box.

That opening goal seemed to spark PSG into life, with Ousmane Dembele racing away from the Montpellier backline soon after and forcing a strong near-post save out of Benjamin Lecomte. From the resulting corner, Mbappe lashed a fierce volley narrowly wide.

After the break, a fine strike from Hakimi was palmed back into danger by Lecomte, but Randal Kolo Muani couldn’t sort his feet out quick enough to take advantage and Montpellier managed to clear their lines.

Just before the hour mark, the champions had their second goal. Warren Zaire-Emery played a neat give-and-go with Dembele to penetrate the Montpellier box, with the winger selflessly returning the ball and allowing the teenager to fire into the roof of Lecomte’s net.

Soon after, PSG added their third through substitute Vitinha, with Hakimi linking up with Dembele down the right before crossing for the Portugal midfielder to convert from close range.

Dembele was enjoying himself and brought Parc des Princes to its feet when he played through Fabian Ruiz with a gorgeous flick, though the Spaniard’s strike was pushed away by Lecomte.

Deep into stoppage time, Goncalo Ramos was denied a goal by the offside flag. Mbappe just mistimed his run to meet Dembele’s clever ball over the top before cleverly squaring with his heel for Ramos and PSG had to settle for just the three strikes.

FBL-FRA-LIGUE1-PSG-MONTPELLIER

Zaire-Emery was excellent again / FRANCK FIFE/GettyImages

GK: Gianluigi Donnarumma – 6/10 – Had little to do for most of the evening. Now a little more accustomed to sweeping up with PSG maintaining their high line.

RB: Achraf Hakimi – 9/10 – A little shaky when Montpellier sought to counter but acted as another attacker when PSG had the ball. Grabbed the assist for Lee’s opener and Vitinha’s second-half strike.

CB: Marquinhos – 6/10 – Didn’t always enjoy his duels with the physical Akor Adams, but was largely untroubled.

CB: Milan Skriniar – 7/10 – On the odd occasion Marquinhos wasn’t up for the challenge, Skriniar was able to cover for his centre-back partner.

LB: Nordi Mukiele – 7/10 – An admirable performance on the opposite flank, making a stunning block to keep PSG level in the opening exchanges.

DM: Manuel Ugarte – 7/10 – Swept up well and was an assertive presence in the midfield battle, allowing his more technical teammates to flourish.

CM: Warren Zaire-Emery – 9/10 – Played with the youthful exuberance expected of a 17-year-old but carried himself like a full-grown adult. Deserving of his goal.

CM: Lee Kang-in – 8/10 – Afforded the freedom to flitter between the lines and right onto the left flank in support of Mbappe. Took his goal extremely well.

RW: Ousmane Dembele – 9/10 – Had Montpellier retreating in numbers in order to combat his flying pace and mesmeric trickery. Involved in all three goals.

CF: Randal Kolo Muani – 6/10 – Did well to occupy Montpellier’s centre-backs and create more space for PSG’s more direct threats, though failed to provide much of one himself.

LW: Kylian Mbappe – 7/10 – Able to take a back-seat for much of the evening and play at his own pace, acting as more of a support player than one who needs a team built around him. Lovely feint for Lee’s opening goal.

Substitutes

SUB: Vitinha (62′ for Lee) – 8/10

SUB: Goncalo Ramos (62′ for Kolo Muani) – 6/10

SUB: Lucas Hernandez (71′ for Marquinhos) – 6/10

SUB: Fabian Ruiz (78′ for Zaire-Emery) – 6/10

SUB: Carlos Soler (78′ for Hakimi) – 6/10

Subs not used: Arnau Tenas (GK), Layvin Kurzawa, Cher Ndour, Bradley Barcola

Manager

Luis Enrique – 8/10 – PSG dominated possession but weren’t a bore with it. Progress.

Player of the match – Ousmane Dembele (PSG)

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