PSG 5-0 Auxerre: Messi, Mbappe, Neymar leave for FIFA World Cup 2022 with a Ligue 1 win

Paris Saint-Germain restored their five-point lead at the top of the Ligue 1 table on Sunday afternoon with a routine winover Auxerre, albeit with many of their would-be World Cup stars ostensibly taking it easy.

Christophe Pélissier’s men had picked up four points in the two games since he had taken charge, and were able to pose something of a threat at times, to no avail.

The hosts would quickly open the scoring as Kylian Mbappé emphatically finished from close range after Nuno Mendes was found by Messi with a ball over the top. The rest of the first half would see PSG dominate, but understandably unwilling to commit too much into the game, as they remained largely undisturbed by Auxerre’s sporadic counters.

Mendes notched his second assist of the afternoon just minutes into the second half, as the Portuguese full-back danced his way into the Auxerre penalty area before lifting a squared ball onto Carlos Soler’s head for a finish into the bottom corner for the Spaniard.

PSG soon began to pull away as Achraf Hakimi added a third, converting from Soler’s defence-splitting pass on a lightning-quick counter with a tidy finish to beat Costil.

As the game wound down, and the likes of Lionel Messi and Neymar were substituted, PSG did manage to add another, as Renato Sanches responded to missing out on Portugual’s World Cup squad by scoring one of his own.

The loudest cheer of the afternoon, though, would come for 20-year-old Hugo Ekitike’s goal, with the summer recruit getting his first for his new club, just minutes after coming agonisingly close after rounding the goalkeeper. A successful afternoon for the hosts, who never really had to raise their game, and emerge unscathed, with no injuries to report on.

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