Paris Saint-Germain had Kylian Mbappe to thank as they came from behind to win 3-1 against Saint-Etienne in Ligue 1 and avoid the embarrassment of successive defeats after losing to Nantes last week.
Mbappe, who is now level with Zlatan Ibrahimovic in second place on PSG’s all-time goalscorers list on 156, netted either side of half-time for Mauricio Pochettino’s team at Parc des Princes after Denis Bouanga had given Saint-Etienne what was a deserved lead early on. Danilo Pereira got the third.
PSG had been given a warning before going behind. Gianluigi Donnarumma made a top point-blank save to make up for spilling the ball, before two important blocks from defenders followed.
But they brought the goal on themselves, with Danilo losing the ball in a bad area and being punished immediately by the sharp Bouanga, who continues to haunt Les Parisiens after a flurry of recent goals against them.
Despite the visitors enjoying chances early on, PSG’s dominance eventually began to show as the first half progressed and they completely controlled the ball
A Lionel Messi free-kick asked a question of Saint-Etienne goalkeeper Paul Bernardoni that he was equal to. But Mbappe’s equaliser just before half-time appeared to go straight through him. The Frenchman had his second soon after the restart, another fine finish and another set up by Messi after the seven-time Ballon d’Or winner had already laid on the first.
Danilo made up for his earlier mistake with the third, as Mbappe this time turned provider. Coming so quickly after PSG’s second, that goal really knocked the stuffing out of Saint-Etienne.
Substitute Angel Di Maria forced two late saves out of Bernardoni, while Neymar tried desperately to get in on the act without success in the time that remained.
PSG player ratings vs Saint-Etienne
1. Goalkeeper & defenders
Gianluigi Donnarumma (GK) - 6/10 - Made a top point-blank save in the first half to make up for his own spill. Produced other stops when needed.
Thilo Kehrer (RB) - 4/10 - Withdrawn at half-time after struggling.
Marquinhos (CB) - 6/10 - Not as defensively commanding as he should have been in every situation. Passed impeccably though.
Presnel Kimpembe (CB) - 7/10 - Made a potentially goal-saving tackle when Saint-Etienne were still leading.
Nuno Mendes (LB) - 6/10 - Played with good energy and tenacity.
Idrissa Gueye (CM) - 6/10 - Hardly gave the ball away at all.
Danilo Pereira (CM) - 7/10 - Gifted Saint-Etienne their early goal when he was badly caught in possession on the edge of his own penalty area. But made other good blocks and scored to make up for it.
Georginio Wijnaldum (CM) - 6/10 - Hit the woodwork late on.
Lionel Messi (RF) - 9/10 - The goals still aren't free flowing but the assists are and his vision and touch were both top class.
Kylian Mbappe (ST) - 9/10 - Scored two clinical goals either side of half-time that turned the game on its head. Also assisted the third PSG goal.
Neymar (LF) - 7/10 - Couldn't join his friends with a goal or assist but was still a threat and had chances.
Angel Di Maria (RW) - 7/10 - Brought on at half-time. Slotted into the attacking rhythm well and could have scored on another day.
Juan Bernat (LB) - N/A
Mauro Icardi (ST) - N/A
Julian Draxler (CM) - N/A