Kurzawa returns with goal, assist to lead PSG to comfortable win vs. Montpellier
PARIS -- Paris Saint-Germain have opened up a provisional 15-point lead at the Ligue 1 summit after thumping Montpellier 5-1 at Parc des Princes on Wednesday.
Layvin Kurzawa opened the scoring for the hosts before Florent Mollet temporarily levelled for the visitors, but after that it was all PSG. Angel Di Maria restored Les Parisiens' lead with a stunning free kick before half-time, before Christopher Nkunku and Kylian Mbappe got in on the act and a Hilton own goal added gloss to an emphatic result.
Games in hand are there to be won, and PSG did just that. Thomas Tuchel could have rested more senior players than he was already without but preferred to go for victory and got it. On top of the result, the intensity of the performance will have pleased the German, as will Kurzawa's goal and assist in his first competitive start all season.
Aside from allowing Mollet to score a soft goal direct from a free kick, Tuchel will not have too many complaints against his players.
Manager rating out of 10
7 -- Tuchel went with a starting XI that was strong enough to break down a resolute Montpellier defence and then injected some quality late on to ensure a final push for goals.
Player ratings (1-10; 10 = best. Players introduced after 70 minutes get no rating)
GK Gianluigi Buffon, 5 -- Made a good low save early in the first half but could and arguably should have done better with Mollet's free kick.
DF Thilo Kehrer, 6 -- Another solid outing at right-back, but it came at a cost as he had to have his thigh iced after being substituted late on.
DF Marquinhos, 7 -- He has moved from defensive midfield to central defence and had to be the most senior of the two men at the heart of the back four here, but he remained as formidable as ever -- an absolute high point form-wise this season.
DF Presnel Kimpembe, 6 -- Recovered well after taking a knee to the head early on and was solid alongside Marquinhos.
DF Layvin Kurzawa, 7 -- A goal and an assist in his first competitive outing after such a lengthy injury layoff will have had a cathartic feeling to it, although he has some work to do defensively.
MF Dani Alves, 6 -- Teed up Kurzawa brilliantly for the opener and was combative until he was withdrawn, picking up a booking in the process.
MF Marco Verratti, 6 -- Tenacious in the middle, it was not his brilliant Manchester best, but a decent 90-minute outing is very good news for PSG.
FW Angel Di Maria, 7 -- Was denied by Benjamin Lecomte in a good first-half, one-on-one chance but atoned for it with a stunning free kick before the break.
FW Julian Draxler, 6 -- Needs to be more clinical in front of goal, but he continues to be a creative force as PSG continue to be without Neymar.
FW Christopher Nkunku, 6 -- Got in on the goals late on and did reasonably well in a rare opportunity to impress in his preferred attacking role.
FW Kylian Mbappe, 7 -- Scored one, had another awarded to Hilton as an own goal and another ruled out for offside -- he was a nightmare for the usually watertight Montpellier defence without having to excel.
FW Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, 7 -- Replaced Di Maria for the final 23 minutes and was an underrated creative influence -- involved in the build-up to both of PSG's two final goals.
DF Colin Dagba, N/R -- Came on for the final 14 minutes and added some defensive steel.
FW Moussa Diaby, N/R -- Entered the pitch with the scoring taken care of, he was unable to help PSG stretch their lead against the club he came close to joining on loan last summer.