French league leader PSG again relies on Mbappe for late win

February 11, 2022 GMT
PSG's Kylian Mbappe, right, celebrates with his teammate Mauro Icardi after scoring his side's opening goal during the French League One soccer match between Paris Saint Germain and Rennes at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris, Friday, Feb. 11, 2022. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)
PSG's Kylian Mbappe, right, celebrates with his teammate Mauro Icardi after scoring his side's opening goal during the French League One soccer match between Paris Saint Germain and Rennes at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris, Friday, Feb. 11, 2022. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)
PSG's Kylian Mbappe, right, celebrates with his teammate Mauro Icardi after scoring his side's opening goal during the French League One soccer match between Paris Saint Germain and Rennes at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris, Friday, Feb. 11, 2022. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)
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PSG's Kylian Mbappe, right, celebrates with his teammate Mauro Icardi after scoring his side's opening goal during the French League One soccer match between Paris Saint Germain and Rennes at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris, Friday, Feb. 11, 2022. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)
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PSG's Kylian Mbappe, right, celebrates with his teammate Mauro Icardi after scoring his side's opening goal during the French League One soccer match between Paris Saint Germain and Rennes at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris, Friday, Feb. 11, 2022. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

PARIS (AP) — Kylian Mbappe came through yet again for French league leader Paris Saint-Germain when he scored in the third minute of injury time to scrape a 1-0 home win against Rennes on Friday.

Mbappe was set up by Lionel Messi in the 93rd minute for his 12th league goal.

The victory moved PSG 16 points ahead of second-placed Marseille, which has a game in hand.

PSG coach Mauricio Pochettino picked a full-strength team against Rennes, the only side to beat him in the league this season, but PSG was as lackluster as it has been several times in this campaign.

PSG’s ultras displayed banners critical of the club directors, in particular sporting director Leonardo.

“Leonardo, Time to Get Lost?” one banner read.

Rather than keeping his stars fresh for the Champions League clash against Real Madrid on Tuesday, Pochettino started Mbappe and Messi against Rennes, which beat PSG 2-0 at home and negated PSG until another late escape.

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Rennes sat deep to absorb PSG pressure and almost scored in the 14th when Baptiste Santamaria header flew just wide from fellow midfielder Benjamin Bourigeaud’s corner.

Mbappe hit the post in the 40th, and one minute into the second half Santamaria fired just over from Bourigeaud’s pass.

A Mbappe goal midway through the second half was ruled out for offside.

SATURDAY’S GAMES

Nice needs only a draw at Lyon to move above Marseille and into second place on goal difference for the automatic Champions League spot.

In the other game, Montpellier hosts defending champion Lille, which lost 5-1 at home to PSG last Sunday.

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