Kylian Mbappe netted with a superb header to help Paris St Germain to a 4-2 win at Brest on Friday which lifted them to the top of Ligue 1 with a maximum nine points from three games.
PSG again showed scoring prowess as they have now netted 10 goals in the opening three games, and that is even before new signing Lionel Messi has made his highly-anticipated debut. Manager Mauricio Pochettino said there was still work to be done in order to make sure his side amounted to the sum of talented parts.
“We have a unit full of shining names and the main challenge is to gel them into a unit so that everyone is at the team’s service,” the Argentine told a news conference.
“It’s difficult, you need work to get a strong team. We struggled a bit in the closing stages but I am happy that we came away with three points against a very good team.”
Ander Herrera fired PSG ahead with a 23rd-minute volley before Mbappe made it 2-0 in the 36th when he powered his effort past home goalkeeper Marco Bizot from 10 metres after latching on to a rebound from Georginio Wijnaldum’s shot.
Franck Honorat pulled one back for the home side with a crisp finish in the 42nd minute after a slick move, with Steve Mounie holding up the ball well to set up Romain Faivre who released Honorat with a clever back-heel.
The pace dropped after the break before midfielder Idrissa Gueye restored PSG’s two-goal advantage in the 73rd minute with a rasping shot from 35 metres which beat Bizot inside the near post, although the keeper should have done better.
Brest missed a pair of chances in the 77th as visiting keeper Kaylor Navas parried a Ronael Pierre-Gabriel shot and Honorat rattled the woodwork with the rebound.
The visiting defence continued to look shaky and Mounie set up a tense finish when he reduced the arrears in the 85th minute as he drilled in his shot under Navas after another fine assist from Faivre.
PSG were forced to hang on in the closing stages before substitute Angel Di Maria sealed their win in stoppage time with a sublime lob from the edge of the penalty area as the visitors broke away after a Brest corner.
It was a second successive win for PSG without Messi, who has yet to feature for the French giants after joining them from Barcelona earlier this month.
Messi was presented to PSG fans before last Saturday’s 4-2 home win over Strasbourg but was not in the squad either for that fixture or the win at Brest, having taken a month off after steering Argentina to the Copa America title in July.
On Saturday, Monaco are at home to Lens while champions Lille, who have taken one point from their opening two games, visit St Etienne.
Photo Paris Saint Germain’s Kylian Mbappe celebrates scoring the 2-0 lead during the French Ligue 1 soccer match between Paris Saint Germain and the Stade Brestois in Brest, France, 20 August 2021. EPA-EFE/Christophe Petit Tesson