Mbappe leads the way as PSG eases to win over AC Milan in the Champions League
PARIS (AP) — Star striker Kylian Mbappé scored again and 17-year-old midfielder Warren Zaïre-Emery caught the eye with two assists as Paris Saint-Germain beat a lackluster AC Milan 3-0 in the Champions League on Wednesday.
Mbappé opened the scoring late in the first half following Zaïre-Emery’s fine run and pass. After Mbappé’s France teammate Randal Kolo Muani made it 2-0 early in the second period, Zaïre-Emery capped an excellent performance by setting up South Korea winger Lee Kang-in near the end.
It was Lee's first for the club and a welcome win for PSG after it was routed 4-1 at Newcastle in the previous round, while seven-time champion Milan still has not won or scored in Group F.
“Of course it was important to bounce back from the defeat at Newcastle," said Zaïre-Emery, who made several driving runs during the match.
PSG leads with six points from three matches and Milan is last. In other group game, Newcastle lost 1-0 at home to Borussia Dortmund.
Mbappé rifled a 32nd-minute shot past France goalkeeper Mike Maignan to give PSG the lead. Maignan was beaten again in the 53rd, when Kolo Muani tapped into an empty net after Maignan saved France winger Ousmane Dembélé's low shot following a short corner.
Milan coach Stefano Pioli picked a starting lineup without a single Italian player in it. According to OPTA statisticians, it was the first time in Milan's history that it had done so for a European game.
Midway through the first half, a spectator ran onto the field and hugged Mbappé, who seemed unfazed. The intruder evaded several security officials before getting escorted off.
Winger Rafael Leao shot just wide from outside the penalty area in the 26th and Mbappé did the same a few minutes later.
His next shot gave Maignan no chance, and the goal came following great work from Zaïre-Emery.
He showed his strength breaking through midfield before picking out Mbappé, who junked right to put England defender Fikayo Tomori off balance before drilling a low shot into the left corner.
Kolo Muani's goal was much more straightforward as Maignan spilled the ball into his path after parrying Dembélé's snapshot from just inside the area.
Moments earlier, Dembélé thought he had scored his first for the club since joining this summer from Barcelona.
He broke down the right at great speed and arrowed a low shot into the left corner. But the goal was ruled out when a review showed Manuel Ugarte barging American midfielder Yunus Musah off the ball in the buildup.
Maignan expertly tipped Mbappé's curling shot onto the post late on but was well beaten when Lee struck a crisp shot past him in the 89th after swapping passes with Zaïre-Emery.
“It’s a heavy defeat," Pioli said. "It wasn’t easy to keep the ball, given their pressure. We can definitely do better than this.”
There was a lot of activity and noise in the stands.
PSG goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma, who joined the French club two years ago as a free agent after leaving AC Milan, was jeered by Milan’s fans when his name was read out.
Hardcore “ultra” fans on both sides chanted insults — in each other’s language.
Ultras in PSG’s Auteuil section held up a Palestinian flag close to halftime, and three banners with politically charged messages were briefly unfurled before being packed away.
The start of the match was cagey before Milan gradually started to dominate midfield, exposing PSG's shortcomings against a strong pressing game in the same way Newcastle did — but without offering a goal threat to go with it.
“I think Milan were better than us for 20-25 minutes and we couldn't find a response," PSG coach Luis Enrique said. "But the first goal freed us.”
Milan struggled to create any chances for veteran striker Olivier Giroud, who was too isolated up front.
“We didn’t make enough of a difference in the final third,” Giroud said. “The second goal hurt us, a lack of concentration on the corner. At this level you pay for it.”
AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer