Paris Saint-Germain stretched their lead at the Ligue 1 (L1) summit to 15 points with a rampant 6-1 victory over Clermont Foot, extending Mauricio Pochettino’s side’s phenomenal record against bottom half L1 sides to 14 wins from 15 this season.
The L1 title was already within touching distance for PSG and the ‘Parisians’ asserted their authority on proceedings inside the opening five minutes. As the ball cannoned around the edge of the area, Lionel Messi was the calmest man in Clermont as he twisted and slipped Neymar in on goal and the Brazilian finished with aplomb. In what was fast-becoming a PSG procession, the Ligue 1 table-toppers added a second – Messi again the creator-in-chief and this time it was Kylian Mbappé who added the finishing touch.
Clermont manufactured themselves a lifeline before the break though. Saîf-Eddine Khaoui the architect, rolling the ball across the six-yard line to leave Jodel Dossou with the simplest of tasks to tap home from close-range. PSG thought they had reestablished their two goal advantage shortly after the break, but a free-flowing move finished off by Messi was chalked off as the assistant raised his flag for an offside in the build-up.
The prospects of a goal at the other end for Clermont appeared slim given the relegation-threatened side had won just one of their last ten L1 home games.That record was easily explained given Johan Gastien’s rash nature in the area as he felled Mbappé and allowed Neymar to stroke home his second of the night from the penalty spot. A game of one upmanship continued between Paris’ two superstars, as both Mbappé and Neymar completed their hat-tricks to complete the rout.
Victory not not only inched PSG closer to famous tenth Ligue 1 title, but also spared the blushes of Pochettino, who avoided the ill-fated record of becoming the first PSG manager to lose four successive top-flight away games since the Qatari-backed era began in 2011/12. As for Clermont, their heads are still above water for now, though with Metz playing Bordeaux tomorrow, they may have to fend off the advances of more than just Saint-Étienne in the coming weeks.