Paris: Kylian Mbappe marked his 25th birthday with a brace as Paris Saint-Germain beat Metz 3-1 in Ligue 1 on Wednesday to reach the halfway stage of the season five points clear at the top of the table.
PSG, who had been held 1-1 at Lille at the weekend, laboured in the first half before Vitinha opened the scoring early in the second half by turning in a cross from Lee Kang-in.
Mbappe then took centre stage by making it 2-0 with a superb strike in off the underside of the crossbar from the edge of the area.
Matthieu Udol pulled one back for the struggling visitors but Mbappe pounced on a short backpass to round the goalkeeper and make it 3-1 towards the end for his 18th league goal of the campaign.
His birthday was made even more memorable when his 16-year-old brother Ethan came on for his senior debut in stoppage time.
PSG end the year with a comfortable five-point cushion over nearest challengers Nice, who defeated Lens 2-0 on Wednesday thanks to two late goals from Nigerian striker Terem Moffi.
Monaco are seven points behind the leaders in third place after coming from behind to win 2-1 at Toulouse, with Wissam Ben Yedder scoring both of their goals.
The principality side held on to take all three points despite having Aleksandr Golovin sent off early in the second half.
Malian international Kamory Doumbia produced the individual performance of the evening by scoring four goals, all in the first half, as Brest beat Brittany rivals Lorient 4-0.
That result lifted Brest up into fourth, a Champions League qualifying berth, above a Lille side who were beaten 2-1 away at Patrick Vieira’s Strasbourg.
Marseille are sixth after coming from behind to draw 1-1 at Montpellier, with Jordan Veretout scoring their goal in a game that was held up for five minutes in the second half after fireworks were set off at one end of the stadium.
Montpellier had a point deducted following an incident in their home match against Clermont earlier this season, when the away side’s goalkeeper was hit by a firecracker thrown from the same stand.
“These guys are idiots, it’s incredible,” complained Montpellier coach Michel Der Zakarian on Wednesday.
“I don’t understand it. You are supposed to come to the stadium to support your team, not to set off fireworks.”
Japanese international Keito Nakamura got the only goal as Will Still’s Reims defeated Le Havre 1-0, while Rennes struck twice late on to claim a 3-1 victory at bottom club Clermont.
Meanwhile, Lyon climbed out of the bottom three as they beat Nantes 1-0 thanks to an Alexandre Lacazette goal.
It was a third consecutive victory for a team who had previously won just once all season, and the result lifted them two points above Toulouse, who now occupy the relegation play-off position.