Lens wins at Lorient to extend title race for another round
PARIS (AP) — Kylian Mbappé scored twice to reach a league-leading 28 goals this season as Paris Saint-Germain labored to a 2-1 win at relegation-threatened Auxerre on Sunday to all but guarantee a record 11th French league title.
Defending champion PSG remains six points ahead of second-place Lens with two matches left and has a far superior goal difference, but mathematically needs one point next weekend at Strasbourg to move past Saint-Étienne on 10 titles.
Mbappé put PSG 2-0 ahead inside eight minutes with World Cup winner Lionel Messi involved in the buildup for both goals. Mbappé's brace moved him two clear of Lyon striker Alexandre Lacazette, who has 26 goals, in the race to finish top scorer.
Despite the comfortable lead, PSG's defense looked vulnerable, as it has for several seasons.
Late in the first half, Rayan Raveloson hit the crossbar with a half-volley for Auxerre and PSG goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma then had to make a sharp save.
The warning signs went unheeded as striker Lassine Sinayoko got behind the defense and beat Donnarumma in the 51st. Donnarumma saved PSG again when he pushed away Gauthier Hein's shot in the 75th.
Mbappé had a hat-trick goal ruled out for offside in stoppage time.
Earlier, Seko Fofana scored again as Lens rallied to win 3-1 at Lorient and maintained its very slim hopes of catching PSG.
The standout midfielder sliced the ball home from close range in the 87th minute.
Lorient midfielder Romain Faivre put his side ahead early on but Lens scored twice in quick succession midway through the first half with goals from forward Florian Sotoca and midfielder Adrien Thomasson.
Lens is close to ensuring second place and automatic entry into the Champions League. The northern side leads third-place Marseille by five points with two matches left.
Fofana scored the winner in the previous round of games when 10-man Lens beat Reims 2-1.
Elsewhere, forward Amine Gouiri scored a hat trick as Rennes won 5-0 at relegated Ajaccio to stay one point behind Lille in fifth place and the Europa Conference league spot. Ajaccio has conceded 10 goals in two games and next travels to play Lens.
Auxerre is fighting with 15th-place Strasbourg and 17th-place Nantes to avoid being the last side relegated in a season where four teams go down.
Brest ensured it stayed in the top flight after beating Clermont 2-1 at home with goals from forwards Franck Honorat and Steve Mounié to move up to 14th.
Strasbourg was held 1-1 at relegated Troyes but certainly looks safe since it is five points clear of Auxerre and six clear of Nantes.
Folarian Balogun, who recently opted to play for the U.S. national team rather than England, netted his 20th league goal of the season for Reims. But it was not enough as the midtable side was held 2-2 at home by last-place Angers.
Also, Nice drew 0-0 at home to French Cup winner Toulouse.
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