Paris Saint-Germain avoided a shock result against lowly Auxerre as the champions cruised to a 5-0 win at the Parc des Princes.
Auxerre dropped into the lowest of low blocks in an attempt to counteract PSG’s attacking firepower, but it was no use as the league leaders took the lead after just 10 minutes.
Messi chipped the ball over the defence for Nuno Mendes, who squared the ball for Kylian Mbappe to finish via a considerable deflection.
The game was already threatening to become another procession for PSG, but Auxerre managed to ask their own questions of the home side’s defence as M’Baye Niang forced an excellent save out of Gianluigi Donnarumma.
PSG only grew into the game as time went on, however, and they should have had a second when Messi blasted the ball over the bar following good work by Mbappe.
It took until the second half for the second goal to come, but eventually PSG were able to extend their lead when Carlos Soler headed home following excellent work down the left flank from Mendes.
Minutes later it was 3-0, Soler initiating the counter-attack from an Auxerre corner and playing in Achraf Hakimi for the Moroccan full-back to slide the ball home.
Auxerre didn’t give up and looked at times like they might find a way back into the game, but simply made too many mistakes at the back and were punished again 10 minutes from time via a perfectly placed strike from Renato Sanches.
And things went from bad to worse when Julian Jeanvier allowed himself to be robbed in his own penalty area by Hugo Ekitike, who calmly slotted the ball into the back of the net to make it 5-0.
The result takes PSG five points clear at the top of Ligue 1 as we enter the World Cup break, putting them in a strong position to win yet another league title when domestic football resumes.
GK: Gianluigi Donnarumma – 7/10 – Made a good save to deny Niang in the first half, but this was an uneventful 90 minutes for the Italian.
CB: Nordi Mukiele – 7/10 – Fine, but he’ll have much tougher days than this one.
CB: Danilo Pereira – 7/10 – Drifted between defence and midfield throughout and was effective in both positions.
CB: Sergio Ramos – 7/10 – Hardly the busiest day he’ll ever have, but an assured performance regardless.
RWB: Achraf Hakimi – 8/10 – Took his goal with the coolness of a striker and caused constant problems with his unbelievable pace.
CM: Carlos Soler – 8/10 – Took his goal well with a smart header and set up the third goal with a lovely pass.
CM: Marco Verratti – 6/10 – Floated through this game without any notable contributions.
LWB: Nuno Mendes – 9/10 – An excellent display from the Portuguese, who racked up two assists and was a constant threat for his side.
AM: Neymar – 7/10 – Certainly made an impact, but could have done more if he’d spent less time on the deck.
ST: Lionel Messi – 7/10 – Played a great pass in the build-up to the first goal and was unlucky not to get on the scoresheet himself.
ST: Kylian Mbappe – 8/10 – Got his side off to a great start with a slightly fortuitous goal.
SUB: Renato Sanches – 7/10 – Misplaced a few passes, but made up for them with a well-taken goal.
SUB: Pablo Sarabia – 6/10 – Didn’t really show much of note.
SUB: Hugo Ekitike – 7/10 – Showed great composure to get on the scoresheet late on.
SUB: Presnel Kimpembe – N/A
SUB: Warren Zaire-Emery – N/A
Manager: Christophe Galtier – 7/10 – This was as easy as it gets for PSG, but Galtier still deserves credit for setting his side up to get the job done professionally.