Sub Mbappe's hat-trick puts PSG in last-16 driving seat
Bruges (Belgium): Substitute Kylian Mbappe scored a hat-trick as Paris Saint-Germain moved a step closer to the Champions League last 16 with a 5-0 victory over previously unbeaten Club Brugge on Tuesday.
The World Cup winner, who has only started four games this season because of thigh and hamstring injuries, netted three times in the space of 20 minutes to help PSG go five points clear of Real Madrid, who beat Galatasaray 1-0, in second place in Group A. "I wanted to start and I thought I was going to start, but the coach made his choice and I had to accept it. I also wanted to show that it's difficult to get by without me," Mbappe told broadcaster RMC Sport.
"I have to fight to keep my place. It's been two months since I played a full game. It feels good to come back. My injury is over. I'm 100%," the 20-year-old added. Mauro Icardi netted the other two goals as fellow Argentinian Angel Di Maria directly set-up three of his side's efforts.
For the third time in Europe this season PSG's Thomas Tuchel was unable to start his first-choice attacking trio of Neymar, who is suspended in Europe, Mbappe and Edinson Cavani who is injured. Brugge coach Philippe Clement, who has guided the club to the top of the Belgian Pro League, was without captain Ruud Vormer as the Netherlands midfielder served a suspension for a red card he received in the draw at Real.
The visitors claimed an early lead as Di Maria received a long-range ball on the right flank. The Argentina winger curled in an early cross with the outside of his left foot and Icardi beat Simon Mignolet at his near post after seven minutes. Champions League debutant Charles De Ketelaere missed a good chance to equalise after half an hour but the 18-year-old failed to worry Keylor Navas.
Icardi had a chance to double the Parisians' advantage six minutes into the second-half but his effort across goal was well-saved my Mignolet.
Mbappe entered the fray 60 seconds later and instantly dropped deep hungrily looking for possession.
The Ballon d'Or candidate repeated his feats from Friday's Ligue 1 victory over Nice by scoring and claiming an assist within the final half an hour. He claimed his first of proceedings with 28 minutes of the game to go after another Di Maria curling cross. The former Monaco forward then set-up Icardi for his fifth in four games less than 60 seconds later.