Paris: Paris Saint-Germain refocused on its last shot at silverware this season in the French league and beat Brest 2-1 with a late Kylian Mbappe goal on Saturday.
Mbappe beat the offside trap to collect a throughball from Lionel Messi in the 90th minute and rounded goalkeeper Marco Bizot to slot into an empty net.
The France striker was lucky to still be on the pitch after kicking Haris Belkebla, who was on the ground in the 85th.
“We’re not saying that we lost because of that, but I’d like to know whether all the players would get the same treatment if they did that,” Brest midfielder Pierre Lees-Melou said. “I asked the referee for an explanation. He said that it was tame. So, I’d like to see what’s a real kick.”
Act of petulance
Mbappe initially fouled Belkebla from behind. Belkebla fell to the ground and held onto Mbappe’s leg. In an act of petulance, Mbappe kicked Belkebla in the stomach. The referee showed only yellow cards to Mbappe and Belkebla for that incident.
PSG was knocked out of the Champions League by Bayern Munich on Wednesday and is left with winning Ligue 1. PSG leads second-placed Marseille by 11 points.
“Of course, there is this disappointment, but we have to go and get this title, and there is unity. And have no doubt about this unity,” PSG coach Chistophe Galtier said.
Midfielder Carlos Soler slammed in a rebound in the 37th after Bizot parried a swerving long-range strike from Mbappe. The Spain international was the most threatening PSG player in the first half. He curled a shot that Bizot diverted onto the post in the 11th. Soler also fed Mbappe, who missed the target from a tight angle in the 26th.
Bizot frustrated PSG in the second half, palming away Messi’s effort from the edge of the box in the 65th and saving a close-range attempt from Nuno Mendes in the 70th.
Brest had very little possession but managed to expose the fragility of the PSG defense. The host capitalized on a counterattack to level in the 44th. Franck Honorat made a run in behind Sergio Ramos to chase a long ball from Romain Del Castillo and held off Timothee Pembele to shoot high past goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma.
PSG has kept just two clean sheets in the league since the World Cup.
Also, Rennes missed an opportunity to make up ground in the race for Champions League spots by drawing with struggling Auxerre 0-0.
Rennes was lackluster, waiting until the 55th minute to test Auxerre goalkeeper Ionut Radu.
Auxerre stretched its unbeaten run in the league to six games to move out of the relegation zone, level on points with Brest. Rennes stayed in fifth place, four points outside the top three spots.
Rennes struggled to put under pressure an Auxerre side playing with 10 men behind the ball.
“I’m very disappointed with the behavior of my players,” Rennes coach Bruno Genesio said. “We were too poor in the game to take the three points. Too poor in our intent. Too poor in our high-intensity sprints either to receive the ball or to create space, which is usually our strength.”