PSG stars Messi, Mbappe and Neymar sign off for World Cup with 5-0 victory

Ligue 1 leaders pile up the goals against Auxerre at Parc des Princes

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Paris Saint-Germain's stars came through their final game before the World Cup unscathed, with France forward Kylian Mbappe opening the scoring in the unbeaten league leader's 5-0 home win against Auxerre on Sunday.

Argentina star Lionel Messi, Brazil’s Neymar and Mbappe all started against Auxerre as PSG maintained their five-point lead over second-place Lens.

Messi and Neymar came off with 15 minutes left but Mbappe played the full match, despite coming off near the end last weekend with muscle fatigue.

Mbappe joins up with defending champion France's squad on Monday before flying to Qatar on Wednesday.

PSG's players didn't hold back against Auxerre, despite the fear of a late injury, as the opening goal came after 10 minutes.

Messi lofted a clever pass over the defence for Portugal defender Nuno Mendes sprinting down the left, and his pass was volleyed in by Mbappe for his league-leading 12th goal.

PSG's defence was caught napping when M'Baye Niang profited from a long ball and hit a powerful shot that goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma parried well.

The World Cup-bound Mendes broke free again down the left and his cross was deftly turned in by forward Carlos Soler in the 51st minute, with right-back Achraf Hakimi made it 3-0 soon after.

Hakimi, one of the main players in Morocco's World Cup squad, latched on to Soler's pass and sprinted clear from halfway to beat goalkeeper Benoit Costil with a smart sidefooted shot.

Soler, who is in Spain's World Cup squad, was replaced after an hour, and Messi hit the post with a curling shot soon after.

Central defender Presnel Kimpembe, who has played only an hour of football since sustaining a hamstring injury on September 18, was on the bench and came on for the last 15 minutes.

Kimpembe, who helped Les Bleus win the 2018 World Cup, is in France's injury-hit squad.

Attacking midfielder Renato Sanches added the fourth goal with an angled shot from the right that bounced in off the left post, and Hugo Ekitike made it 5-0.

Updated: November 13, 2022, 2:58 PM
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