Paris Saint-Germain eased to a 3-0 win away at AC Ajaccio on Friday to open a provisional six-point lead at the Ligue 1 summit. Neymar and Sergio Ramos were both suspended for the potentially tricky trip to Corsica, yet Christophe Galtier's men made light work of their hosts thanks to some brilliant goals.
Kylian Mbappe netted twice and teed up Lionel Messi for the other as the legendary Argentine returned the favor for the French superstar as the pair made it look easy at Stade Francois Coty. The win keeps PSG unbeaten thus far this season and they are seeking to produce the first invincible run since they passed to Qatari ownership more than 10 years ago.
It took just 24 minutes for the French champions to open the scoring with Messi feeding Mbappe for a clinical finish past Benjamin Leroy in the Ajaccio goal. There were no further goals until the final 11 minutes but the France international did pass up a golden opportunity to double PSG's lead when he blazed over from close range.
Instead, it was a moment of sheer brilliance from both Mbappe and Messi which saw Les Parisiens double their advantage through the South American. A flowing move featuring several deft touches and clever passes ended with Messi finishing for his sixth Ligue 1 goal of the season and arguably the pick of the lot from a collective point of view.
The 35-year-old turned provide once more as Mbappe finished powerfully from the edge of the box, but it was the pair's chemistry on that special second goal which really stood out. With the absent Neymar also in improved form since the start of the campaign, the Brazilian and Messi have often found it easier to combine given their Barcelona past.
Mbappe has had to remain patient for some of that genius to work in his favor, but it finally did here to devastating effect. The former AS Monaco man has 10 Ligue 1 goals with two more assists after this latest masterclass while Messi has six goals and nine assists and is transformed since last term.
"It was a balanced first half," said Neymar's replacement in the No. 10 role Carlos Soler after the game. "When we managed to get the second and third goals, obviously it was much easier. There was nothing easy about the pitch and our opponents as the crowd really added to the atmosphere and emboldened them. Messi did what Messi does, though. Above all else, it was a good team showing. We are in good shape heading back into the Champions League"
Ultimately, such a comfortable win over a team like Ajaccio means little when assessing PSG's chances of glory on the biggest stage in the UEFA Champions League. However, seeing Mbappe and Messi link up like that makes you wonder if more is to come from what is already a consistent Parisien side.
Maccabi Haifa have been warned ahead of a daunting midweek trip to Parc des Princes this coming Tuesday while PSG are keen to keep this uptick in form going after a recent flurry of draws. Neymar and Ramos will be back from suspension for that one as the Ligue 1 giants look to book their knockout ticket with a game to spare.
You can follow all of the Champions League action this coming week on Paramount+.