Mbappe celebrates 19th birthday with goal, assist in PSG win vs. Caen
PARIS -- Paris Saint-Germain maintained their nine-point lead at the top of Ligue 1 with a 3-1 win over Caen at Parc des Princes on Wednesday to close 2017 in style.
Edinson Cavani opened the scoring with a sensational flicked finish from a Kylian Mbappe assist and then the Frenchman doubled the lead on his 19th birthday before Yuri Berchiche got in on the act. Captain Thiago Silva conceded a late penalty, which was converted by Ivan Santini for the visitors' consolation strike.
Celebrating his birthday, Mbappe scored one and assisted another in his latest impressive performance. The France international now has eight goals and seven assists from his first 16 appearances in Le Championnat alone.
Although he only notched one assist on the night, it was a lovely one for Giovani Lo Celso to make it 2-0 and it was the latest in a long line of mature showings from the Argentina international, which suggest that he is growing into life with PSG.
He was ultimately beaten by Santini's penalty, but Kevin Trapp made a few important saves in a rare run out instead of the sick Alphonse Areola in goal. The Germany international will take heart from some of his tops.
A win might be a win but PSG were guilty of switching off towards the end, having showboated at times throughout the game.
Silva conceded an unnecessary late penalty, even if the incident itself could be considered harsh, while Cavani's teammates were being too generous towards him at times as he hunted the two goals he needed to equal and then overtake Zlatan Ibrahimovic's 156-goal all-time record.
There is nothing wrong with being a good teammate -- in fact, it is rather commendable -- however, such behaviour would have been understandable if it had been in the second half or late in the game and not shortly after the Uruguay international's 21st-minute opener with the score still 1-0.
Manager rating out of 10
7 -- Unai Emery aligned his strongest possible XI and got a good response from his players to close out 2017 with another three-point haul. Two of his three substitutions were forced because of injuries to both Marquinhos and Thomas Meunier.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Kevin Trapp, 6 -- The German was unlucky not to keep a clean sheet after making a number of good saves in a rare Ligue 1 outing.
DF Thomas Meunier, 5 -- The Belgium international was not at his best as he started instead of the suspended Dani Alves and was eventually forced off with an injury 10 minutes from time.
DF Marquinhos, 6 -- The Brazilian was solid enough alongside compatriot Silva but was forced off with an injury after 64 minutes and Caen eventually breached the home defence.
DF Thiago Silva, 5 -- The captain was largely solid until late on. Although it was arguably not his fault, the Brazil international conceded a penalty and picked up a booking.
DF Yuri Berchiche, 6 -- The Spaniard did not enjoy the best of outings but chipped in with a powerful finish to make it 3-0 to salvage his evening after an early booking looked like it might be the sum total of his contribution.
MF Thiago Motta, 6 -- The Italian veteran enjoyed a solid 70-minute outing before he was replaced by Julian Draxler.
MF Javier Pastore, 5 -- If it was the Argentina international's final appearance in PSG colours, which it might have been, it was not his finest. El Flaco would surely have preferred to go out with a bang, rather than a whimper and some full-time tears.
MF Giovani Lo Celso, 7 -- Growing with every passing match, the Argentinian teed up Mbappe well and nearly grabbed himself a sublime lobbed goal.
FW Kylian Mbappe, 8 -- The teenage sensation marked his 19th birthday by scoring one and providing another in his latest impressive showing.
FW Edinson Cavani, 6 -- El Matador is now only one goal behind Ibrahimovic in PSG's list of all-time scorers and scored his latest in sublime fashion. However, the South American was guilty of missing a few good chances as his teammates did their best to get him that record before 2017 finished.
FW Neymar, 6 -- The Brazil international was relatively quiet but that was understandable considering that he shook off a virus to play. That said, Neymar still managed to assist Berchiche's first goal since moving to Paris this summer.
DF Stanley N'Soki, 6 -- As far as first steps go for youth academy graduates, N'Soki was quite assured -- even if Caen did eventually score.
MF Julian Draxler, 6 -- The Germany international gave the PSG midfield greater attacking impetus after replacing Motta.
DF Christopher Nkunku, NR -- The youth academy graduate showed his versatility by filling in at right-back for the final 10 minutes after Meunier was forced off.
Jonathan Johnson covers PSG and the French national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @Jon_LeGossip.