Kylian Mbappe scored a hat-trick as Paris St Germain celebrated winning the Ligue 1 title with a 3-1 victory against Monaco.
After failing to regain their crown in the past three matches, drawing one and losing two, PSG’s sixth title in the last seven seasons was confirmed prior to Sunday night’s game after Lille’s goalless draw at Toulouse earlier in the day.
It was not quite a party atmosphere at the Parc des Princes, owing to the fire this week at Notre Dame in Paris. PSG replaced the player names on the back on their shirts with the name of the cathedral while the fronts sported an image of the partially destroyed landmark.
During the pre-match warm-up, Mbappe greeted Paris firefighters and their children on the pitch. When the game started, the 20-year-old punished his former club with three goals.
Mbappe also saw a shot come back off a post while Monaco saw several chances go to waste before Aleksandr Golovin finally found the back of the net for the visitors with 10 minutes remaining.
Thilo Kehrer could be an injury doubt for the French Cup final after the defender hobbled from the pitch holding his hamstring in the final minutes, leaving PSG to finish the match with 10 men.
Only St Etienne (10) and Marseille (9) have won more Ligue 1 titles now than PSG, whose eighth championship puts them level with Nantes and Monaco.
St Etienne regained fourth spot in Ligue 1 with a 2-0 win at Reims thanks to Remy Cabella’s strike and an own goal by Bjorn Engels.
Nantes made it three wins on the spin with a 3-2 home victory against Amiens. Two goals from Kalifa Coulibaly and another by Valentin Rongier had the hosts in control but Amiens made a game of it when Ferney Otero and Cheick Timite netted replies.
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Barcelona coach Ernesto Valverde warned his side still have work to do to defend their La Liga title despite boasting a nine-point lead with five games to go.
Barca ground out a hard-fought 2-1 win over Real Sociedad on Saturday night, turning to the unlikely scoring duo of Clement Lenglet and Jordi Alba to see off their battling visitors.
The three points move treble-chasing Barca another significant step closer to the crown as they responded to Atletico Madrid’s 1-0 win at Eibar earlier in the day.
“Today was always going to be a very important game and we have nine points left until we’re champions, but it’s very difficult to win,” Valverde said in comments reported by Marca.
“I know that people say we’re already champions, but we’re not.
“We have to go game by game to win until the end. This is not over, not until we get to the last game is everything done. It will always be difficult.”
Barca were a long way from their best against Sociedad, with Valverde admitting they struggled to find their rhythm after victory over Manchester United in the Champions League in midweek.
“When there is a game like the one against Manchester United, which is the centre of attention, you then have to get back to remotivating the team for another game which is fundamental,” he said.
“The games after Champions League matches are difficult for us. The game was uncomfortable, as they played well and tried to bring the play out from the back. We could not bring it out as we wanted to.
“We lacked a spark and freshness to be able to settle the game.”
N’Golo Kante insists Chelsea do not consider themselves Europa League favourites.
The Blues raced into a 3-0 lead in Thursday’s quarter-final second leg against Slavia Prague at Stamford Bridge, only for the visitors to pull three goals back for a fraught finale.
Chelsea prevailed 4-3 on the night and 5-3 on aggregate, with Pedro on target twice and Olivier Giroud notching his 10th Europa League goal of the campaign.
Maurizio Sarri’s men will now face Eintracht Frankfurt in the semi-finals, but with Arsenal facing Valencia in the other last-four tie Kante maintains Chelsea will not get ahead of themselves.
“We’re not favourites; we played a good match and we will do all we can to get to the final,” said Kante.
“But we’re not favourites. It was important for us to win this game.
“I think it’s important to be in the semi-finals, it was our target.
“We played a good game, it was difficult in the second-half but we got what we wanted and we are happy for that.
“I think they worked very well, they tried to push more and scored two beautiful goals.
“And after that we managed to hold on to keep the win.”
Pedro’s first finish, a neat Giroud effort and an own goal from Simon Deli put Chelsea three goals to the good inside 20 minutes in south-west London on Thursday.
Tomas Soucek’s headed finish did not dent Chelsea’s authority, but Petr Sevcik’s double after the break most certainly did.
Chelsea are still chasing a top-four Premier League finish, along with their European ambitions.
And World Cup winner Kante believes completing that Europa League mission would turn Chelsea’s campaign into a success.
“We can make the season beautiful by winning the Europa League,” said Kante.
“That’s the only title we can win now, so it would be great to win the Europa League.
“I think at the beginning of the game it was a good feeling to score three goals like this. The most important thing was to qualify.
“We’ll go into the semi-final with confidence and we hope to qualify for the final.”
Chelsea head coach Sarri lamented another slow second half start that nearly derailed the Blues’ bid for European glory.
The hosts were cruising until Sevcik’s quick-fire double that teed up a tense finish.
France star Kante admitted Chelsea have an issue with their second-half performances, but insisted the Stamford Bridge men still have chance to resolve those shortcomings.
Asked about those slow second-half starts, Kante said: “It’s just something that has happened many times this season and something we need to manage a bit better. But we still have to work on that.”